More than 400 visitors braved light rain and wind to attend an open house at our landfill in Coventry, Vermont. The annual event is an opportunity for community members to tour the facility, and to learn about Casella's holistic approach to waste and resource management.
“We love opening our doors to the community and welcoming them in to learn about our company, our operations, and the realities of modern waste management,” said the landfill’s general manager Jeremy Labbe. “Most people attend out of curiosity or to enjoy some family-friendly fun and food and leave with a new perspective about their own consumption and the modern technology in place that safely manages their waste. I am so grateful to all of our staff that volunteer their time on a Saturday to help with this event.”
Tours ran throughout the day on chartered buses and visitors came back having just experienced a true “ah-ha” moment.
“The tour guide was funny and knowledgeable,” said Peggy Carr-Burbank who was visiting from East Hardwick. “(He) gave me a different understanding of how our garbage is recycled and handled.”
We had representatives from each of our lines of businesses available to answer questions and provide information on everything from organics to Zero-Sort Recycling. Representatives of the Casella Resource Solutions group were also on hand to showcase their efforts which span 40 states delivering advanced resource management solutions finding new and higher uses for materials that historically ended up in landfills or incinerators.
“For more than 40 years our approach has been to implement complete systems to solve complex problems,” said Casella Chairman and CEO John Casella, who was in attendance to greet guests and enjoy the day. “This is a great opportunity to showcase those systems in a family-friendly environment and educate the public on ways we can work together to reduce consumption, recycle better, and manage waste in a safe and secure way.”
Partners from Washington Electric Co-op were also present to give visitors tours of its neighboring energy facilities which convert landfill gas into renewable energy for nearly 8,000 homes in Vermont. The facility is one of several initiatives that Casella has implemented on its way to successfully cutting its carbon footprint in half since 2005.
According to Casella, the company's landfill gas yielded nearly four times the electricity that its operations consumed last year. “Many people would be amazed at the science, engineering, and technology that goes into managing their waste after they put it to the curb. Our hope is that through these events we can educate the public at a deeper level.”
A small group of around 20 protesters posted up outside the facility. They declined invitations to join the tours and educational displays inside. We believe that many of the group’s concerns are addressed by the modern design and technologies of today’s highly-regulated, highly-engineered landfills.
“We understand that some people don’t like landfills, often based on unfounded fears or tired rhetoric,” Casella said. “We hope that next year, those folks will leave the sidelines and join us to work on the next wave of solutions that will continue to elevate the environmental protection and resource recovery services that our facilities can deliver. We have been committed to doing the difficult yet rewarding work of finding solutions for more than 40 years and we always welcome new perspectives and collaborators.”