Interacting with Professionals: A Visit to the Altamont Landfill

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Last Wednesday, Oakland Tech interns jumped in the van for a long 1 hr + car ride to visit the Altamont Landfill. It wasn’t ideal to sit in a car for so long after a tiring school day but everyone agreed that knowing how long your waste takes to get “away” is important, and it might be longer than you may think!

Once the team arrived they met up for a private tour with the Operations Manager and Environmental Specialist of the landfill. Interns heard all about their day to day routine, how they got to where they are at and how important the job is for them. Interns expressed that they were kind of surprised to see how passionate and motivated the two were about the work they do, and how hearing from waste professionals continues to change their perspective on the field.

Altamont Landfill is an award winning landfill and has taken tremendous strides to reduce the impact of their work. Even with all of their advances, it is still a bit disheartening to see the huge piles of litter and it definitely felt good for the team to see how their 3-Bin project is a part of the solution.

Here is what some of our interns had to say about the day! 

“I really enjoyed visiting the Altamont landfill today. I remembered being disappointed the last time we came here, because of the weather conditions and how dark it was to see anything. I was really shocked by all the birds flying around the main dumping sites and how one site can last about 30 years. It surprised me even more learning that it takes about 10 years to prepare one of those dumping sites. Everyday I am with Earth Team, I learn something new.” – Suzanne, OT Second Year Intern

“I learned that they use a lot of pipes when dealing with compost to speed up the process. I thought it was really interesting that we were driving on actual landfill and how large area where they dump trash is. I also thought it was cool how they can convert methane gas into fuel. ” Daisy, OT Intern

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“First Thought “Look at all the biiiirds” Second Thought “Wow. Thats a lot of trash” It was rather interesting to see just how much trash we end up burying into our grounds. It was also really irritating since EVERYTHING was landfill. It was really overwhelming to see the just how much of it there is.” – Angela, OT Intern

“I learned that before even getting to the landfill, the trucks driving the trash release a lot of CO2 just by driving to our landfill, which adds on to the negative effects of landfills. The tour really put into perspective how much more trash would be in the landfill if we didn’t implement the 3 Bin System.” – Kamilah, OT Intern

“It was really crazy to see the actual physical trash that looks just like what we throw out in the dumpster every day, just on a city wide level. The amount of stuff there was mind blowing. It was cool to learn about the compost systems and how they’re being made, and some of the internal workings of the landfill in general. I knew our landfill was like, hella fancy, but I didn’t know it was fully closed loop” – Ruby, OT Intern

Thank you Altamont Landfill for being a pivotal leader in waste reduction and sustainability practices! 



Public Speaking Practice with a Break from the Classroom

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Student Blog: CoCo Gutman

I really enjoyed doing a meeting outside because with out 3-Bin system project we rarely get to be in nature. We did a public speaking activity where we had to stand up in front of everyone and talk about anything for a minute and thirty seconds. The catch was that we couldn’t use words such as like, um, uh or any nervous tick. This activity helped us improve our public speaking skills. This game was my favorite part of the meeting, I was laughing so hard with my team members. It also helped me get over my fear of public speaking because I was able to be silly and make mistakes in front of people that I know support me.

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I have been working on getting a 3-bin system at Tech even before I joined Earth Team, so talking about tips for students wanting to do the same thing was rewarding. I was able to share how I overcame certain struggles and the importance of finding a passionate and committed team. Without a team a project so big can seem daunting. Every person on Earth Team is unique and that’s why we create a diverse and strong group.

Written By: CoCo, OT Second Year Intern

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