Since they are a company that deals with so much waste, they continuously try to find ways to better their operations, and decrease their impact on the environment. As a company specializing in waste management, they are part of an industry that is one of the most heavily regulated in the world. There are countless laws they have to abide by, which means they are constantly measuring the quality of groundwater, amount of air emissions, and checking soil quality. In order to be a good neighbour within the municipalities they operate, BFI provides many programs to help benefit the people of the communities. Some of the programs they facilitate throughout the year include: Christmas Tree recycling, household hazardous waste collection, food drives, environmental college scholarships, adopt-a-highway, and clean-up days.
Some environmental safety systems BFI has in place in order to help protect the environment include: the collection and treatment of landfill gas, leachate removal and treatment, crews to pick up trash blown on to public roads, washing down all roads on-site in order to minimize the tracking of waste off-site, and falconry (training birds of prey to catch game) in order to control the amount of seagulls around landfills.
After doing research on what BFI does to be socially responsible as a whole, I wanted to look at a single landfill location and see what they do in order to decrease their environmental impact. One location that caught my interest is The Ridge Landfill in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent Ontario. I am interested in this location because it is in a small community called Charing Cross, very close to my hometown of Blenheim, and I have heard some conflictive stories about it. The Ridge Landfill covers an area of 260 hectares, and half of that is permitted for landfilling.
In the past couple years this particular landfill has increased the amount of garbage they take in per day, from 4391 tonnes of waste to 6661 tonnes per day, raising the maximum annual fill from 899,000 tonnes per year to 1,300,000. That is a ton of trash. This increase of garbage per day is due to the fact that garbage isn`t strictly from surrounding municipalities, but trucked in over 3 hours from the GTA. As a result of the increase in annual trash, the lifespan of the landfill as decreased from 2027 to 2022.
The expansion of this landfill has provided more jobs for people within the local community and a substantial increase of the amount of money brought into the community by the landfill. In order to decrease the amount of pollution in the surrounding community, and to make the site more appealing to the eye, BFI has constructed a 7-meter high berm around the entire landfill and dress it up by planting many gardens and trees. To decrease the air pollution and smell caused by the landfill, BFI has included a smell mitigation system which minimizes odour by spraying the entire site with a cherry-like mist. They also have 2 flares set-up which burns harmful gases emitted from the landfill, diverting the gas from leaching into the ground and causing damage to the environment. Another way they give back to the environment is by donating funds to local foundations and organizations. One of their most recent donations was $5000 to the Children`s Treatment Centre Foundation of Chatham-Kent, to go towards a ``Child`s Play`` accessible playground.
Researching BFI and The Ridge Landfill has answered all my questions about what the company does to minimize its impact on the environment, and what it does to give back to the communities they operate in.