Climbing the summit of Marathon County's Landfill in Ringle is a rough ride. The abundant blue sky paints a stark contrast to what is happening to your right as you arrive atop the facility.
It is the final resting place for everything thrown away in our region. And though garbage may be a fact of life, much of what is in the landfill, shouldn't be there.
"Unless you see the enormity of what goes into managing your garbage, you're not going to start reducing" Director of Solid Waste Meleesa Johnson told Newsline 9.
Part of Johnson's job is to see what is thrown away has minimal impact on the earth once disposed of. That includes trying to stop things like cardboard, plastic and paper from ever making it to the facility.
"That should never end up in a landfill," Johnson said. "That should get recycled."
Driving across the property, Site Supervisor Eileen Guthrie said "it's at some point a never ending battle, but I do think we make progress."
Part of Guthrie's duties includes working with various recycling programs the landfill orchestrates and setting up dozens of birdhouses around the facility. A program she says yields tremendous results.
"We've fledged hundreds of bluebirds, tree swallows, some house wrens, and that's an interesting thing," Gutherie said.
But the landfill is a big undertaking, and one Johnson says is very important to the community.
"If it has to go in the ground, we'll take care of it and do a good job doing it," Johnson said.
But the ultimate goal, she continued, is simple.
"Connect you with your garbage so that you can maybe make a change, and make a change better for the future," Johnson concluded.
Recycling resources with the Marathon County Landfill are available here: http://www.marathoncountysolidwaste.org/WebPages.cfm?action=viewCat&BIZ_UNL_id=1150
To arrange a tour of the Marathon County Landfill, follow this link: http://www.marathoncountysolidwaste.org/WebPages.cfm?action=viewCat&BIZ_UNL_id=1148