By: Taylor Lunka
Maple Valley, Wash. – Before Summer 2014 filming for Waste Not begins a week from now, Olivia and I decided to pull on our rubber boots and pay a visit to King County’s Cedar Hills Landfill, located roughly 20 miles southeast of Seattle.
Operated by the county’s Solid Waste Division, this landfill covers an area roughly equivalent to 700 football fields and receives about 800,000 tons of solid waste annually.
Our tour began with a welcome from Operations Manager Bill Burni, who handed us yellow hard hats and orange safety vests before we were allowed on-site. We then hopped inside his truck and headed for the action.
As we headed to the top of the landfill, it almost felt as if we were in a nature preserve, not a dump. We spotted three deer along the way and multiple bald eagles. Trees lined every edge of the 920-acre facility.
When we arrived at the area where waste is compacted, Bill introduced us to his boss, Marty, who oriented us to landfill operations. Marty, who has worked at Cedar Hills for more than 26 years, took us to what is called site four, where hundreds of feet of waste stretched out below us.
We were able to get within feet of large machines that pushed trash down into the ground. It made for some great footage for the documentary. We even got to see garbage trucks dumping their loads into the landfill.
We saw everything from bananas and food containers to tree branches, shoes and plastic bags.
The smell wasn’t nearly as bad as we had feared. But Marty told us we had selected a nice day to come because there are days where the waste is “soupy.”
After a short drive back to the Cedar Hills main office, we turned in our safety gear and headed back to Pacific Lutheran University.
Please stay tuned for more blog posts as the Waste Not team embarks upon our coming adventure across the U.S., parts of Canada and on to the United Kingdom, starting Monday, May 26, 2014.