Interns finish of the year with a visit to the Altamont Landfill!

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To finish of the year, Oakland High interns piled into the van and headed to the Altamont Landfill, one of the biggest and most technologically advanced landfills in the nation. Joined by Sarah Fockler, Environmental Protection Specialist for Altamont Landfill Waste Management of Northern California, interns went on a driving tour of the 2,000 acre property.


Interns learned about the different ways the landfill is trying to minimize their impacts. For example, majority of the methane, one of the major greenhouse gases, that is produced by the landfill is processed and converted into fuel for the transportation trucks to lug trash from the cities, Oakland being one of the biggest contributors. It was an eye-opening experience seeing first hand how much waste our society produces, and although Waste Management of Northern California is making great efforts to be more sustainable, our team agreed that there is still much more work to be done.

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As we complete the year, there are now four 3-Bin System stations up and running at Oakland High School thanks to the work of our wonderful interns and the ESA Juniors. It feels good knowing that this year’s hard work is keeping out tons of recycling and compost that has previously has been headed straight to this landfill! We are looking forward to expanding our impact and diving into the community to bring awareness and provide solutions to make the city of Oakland litter free!

Here is what our interns had to say about the visit! 


“Today’s visit to the landfill really opened my eyes to the reality of our garbage situation and it’s impact on our environment. I am really surprised at how much land is used just for the purpose of our waste and garbage. I also got to witness and learn how intricate and detailed landfill garbage treatment is and how much regulations are necessary for this service. It makes me think about not taking things for granted and to be educated about everything.” -Cai

“Today showed me that I need to show my family how to do the three bin system, and we all need to work harder. We should buy more items that can be used over and over. It was really gross to me and I want to work more” -Sophie

“Todays trip to the landfill was awesome and fun. I was really mind-blown and couldn’t believe how big the landfill is. It was a unbelievable experience for me getting to see what an actual landfill looks like for the very first time.” -Peter

“On the field trip I learned that landfills handle way more then just trash like asbestos and cement. They also have lots of regulations to keep us safe” -Britany 

“To be honest I had motion sickness after the first fifteen minutes of driving. But it was overall really fun and interesting about the process waste was managed. Mostly about how the tires had to be shredded before they could be processed. And for some reason the birds really caught my attention while they were flocking around. I have a few photos of that actually. But I think the best part of the trip was going through the wash with the van because that gave me so much adrenaline from just sitting.” -Nicole

“It was my first time that I went to a landfill and it was so cool and fun. The person that went along with us was really kind and nice. I was amazed how many birds there were in the plastic bag area, and the fun part was when we had a van wash. I had never saw this much trashe in my entire life. I kinda hope that this landfill will never close because I want all kids and adults to know about these places. Thanks Earth Team for introducing me the largest landfill in California., and thanks Jenna for driving us there. I wish we will go again when that landfill opens a compost area like she said. I am glad I joined Earth Team because there are so many cool places that I never been to and because of Earth Team I can be able to visit them.” -Houng

Till next year! 




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