Republished from Bay Area Green Tours
New Collaborations on Altamont Landfill and Zero Waste Tour
"This was a very inspirational field trip, because of the amazing sights we saw and the incredible knowledge we took in." - Omar, Skyline High School Student
BAGT recently received a grant from Altamont Landfill to provide Skyline High School Green Academy students the rare opportunity to participate in two stellar behind-the-scenes Zero Waste Tours. Simultaneously, we were thrilled to learn that EarthTeam received an Altamont grant to provide one of their fantastic Waste Action Projects for Skyline High - so we partnered to provide a truly in-depth understanding of waste and discard management.
EarthTeam's Waste Action Project is a service-learning project that teaches and inspires students to address waste on their school campuses and within their communities by practicing the 4R's (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot). Prior to our Zero Waste Tour, EarthTeam representatives visited the students for an introductory presentation on the importance of natural resource conservation, waste reduction, and their links to climate change and environmental justice. Next they conducted a student-run waste audit to assess the campus' current waste and recycling system by identifying, categorizing, and quantifying the school waste collected over one day.
Because these students had already been educated and become concerned about the issue of waste-reduction, when BAGT then followed-up with our Zero Waste Tour, this experience became far more valuable. The magnitude and significance of the issue of waste production and management became readily apparent to them. EarthTeam staff concluded by going back to the classroom where the students were shown the audit results, brainstormed solutions to the garbage generated on campus each day, and were inspired to mount their own campaign to put the consensus solutions into action! Rae Johnson of EarthTeam shared that the students who experienced our Zero Waste Tour were the first group to voluntarily extend their "Action Plan" to include the community beyond their school. We look forward to deepening our relationship with Earth Team, and continuing to develop our presence as experiential environmental educators!
Our Zero Waste Tour began at Back to the Roots, where we explored creative approaches to material reuse. During our visit to Oakland Technology Exchange, students learned how they could become involved in OTX's programming that reduces e-waste, encourages resource-sharing and offers a free computer to all Oakland students. Then, at Alameda Point Collaborative, we got our hands dirty (Go Team "Pooper Scoopers!") and examined community approaches to resource management.
As our tour finished at the Altamont facility, we were reminded that visiting a landfill is an experience that is simultaneously poignant and inspiring, and thus has a strong power to initiate action.
Altamont Landfill and Resource Recovery Facility, a 2,170-acre site, has rapidly gained international recognition as an advocate for environmental stewardship. Altamont boasts leading green energy technology solutions, including their liquified natural gas plant and electricity-generating gas-powered turbines and windmills. It's no wonder the landfill has quickly become one of our most requested tour stops!