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Re: [greenyes] any laws requiring public tours of landfills?

Eric wrote:

My goal is to keep the kids going to the landfill because they love it and they are shocked by it ... and that helps recycling.


Your last email resounded with the kind of work I did with my previous employer, another local municipality. I almost never allowed a tour of the landfill without a later tour of the MRF, so they could see the alternative. I also encouraged the garbageless lunch between stops. There seemed to be two things going on in kids' minds when they werre about to embark on this tour. First, they had a biased negative opinion about the landfill and a biased positive opinion about the recycling center. Regardless of how or who put that bias in their heads, it was always amusing to hear them call the landfill the 'dump'. It just goes to show that kids' honesty is completely disarming and cuts through all the euphemistic crap that we, as industry insiders, have piled on. Now, I no longer disabuse students from the dump moniker. In fact, I point out that, regardless of how much lipstick you put on the pig, it's still a pig. And, regardless of how fascinating all the earth moving equipment at a landfill is and the expansiveness of the place, watching someone drive a huge piece of equipment back and forth over piles of garbage just isn't as exciting as what's going on in a MRF. So, the MRF was always, hands down, the winner of the tour and no amount of slick presentation by even the most eloquent speaker at a landfill could change their minds. I would like to think that companies like Eco-Cycle and individuals like us have helped to create this attitude in our kids. It's a shame that our kids aren't the ones making the decisions about where unwanted stuff should go to be disposed/reclaimed. It would be a different world, if they did.

I think Mario from Quebec just suggested some kind of contractual requirement that would require the allowance of landfill tours. Combining that with Toni's ideas about first amendment rights might keep your foot in the door. The atmosphere might be somewhat hostile at your level but hopefully that wouldn't affect the tour or the educational experience for the kids. It would probably come down to who would be giving the tour presentation while on the landfill property. If the shoe were on the other foot, that is, if we were being asked to allow landfill advocates to give tours of recycling facilities we might think differently about this. How would we like it if tours of our facilities were being conducted by the local landfill operators/owners. Not very well I don't think. The ultimate solution may be to have each owner/operator conduct their own tour with their own speaker. I'd put any recycling junkie up against any landfill junkie and let the chips fall where they may, based on my first paragraph.


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