2024 Earth Day News Slider
April 19, 2024

Happy Earth Day from The Authority!

Earth Day takes place every April 22nd and is a day to recognize our environment and all of the challenges it faces. These challenges include things like pollution, ocean acidification and deforestation. We are all connected to the environment and its challenges in some sort of way, including the Authority.

History of Earth Day

The very first Earth Day took place on April 22nd, 1970, and is said to be the start of the modern environmental movement that we find ourselves in today. The creators of Earth Day had already been concerned about the environment and were tipped off by an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, which is the main event that led to the creation of Earth Day. Nearly 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day demonstrations in 1970, and now over 1 billion people from across the globe participate in the form of protesting, teaching, and participating in events like litter cleanups.

How The Authority is Involved

Since being formed in 1988, the Authority has remained committed to its mission of managing the region’s solid waste and recyclable material in an environmentally sound, cost-effective and safe manner. In addition, the Authority also remains committed to maintaining and enhancing the region’s self-reliant integrated solid waste management system while protecting the health, safety and welfare of the region.

Here are some things that the Authority year-round does to reduce its impact on the environment:

  • Collection and Use of Landfill Gas – As waste breaks down, it produces harmful greenhouse gases that can damage the Ozone Layer if not managed properly. Landfill gas from the Authority’s Regional Landfill is collected and used to generate electricity. The portion of gas that is not used to generate electricity is burnt off and released. When burned, landfill gas is broken down into different gases that are not as harmful to the environment.
  • Facility Energy Demand – Solid waste facilities typically require a large amount of energy to operate properly. To account for this energy demand, the Authority has constructed an 8-acre solar array that annually generates approximately 1.1 megawatts of electricity. This is the equivalent of powering 183 homes. Using renewable energy like solar power reduces the Authority’s reliance on fossil fuels, therefore reducing its carbon footprint.
  • Food2Energy – Food waste, which creates more methane than any other material in the landfill, makes up approximately 22% of the waste stream. The Food2Energy program was created to help minimize the amount of food waste emissions being produced by offering an alternative disposal option. Through this program, with help from the Oneida County Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP), inedible food scraps are broken down by bacteria in anaerobic digesters, which are able to trap the gases that are produced. From there, the gases are processed into fuel and converted into electricity that can be used to provide up to 50% of the WPCP’s energy demand.
  • Monitoring – All Authority facilities are required to meet federal and state mandates and regulations, which require extensive testing and monitoring. From employing an Environmental Compliance Coordinator to sampling facility runoff, the Authority takes environmental monitoring very seriously.

Reducing impacts on the environment can also take place at the individual or household level. Oneida and Herkimer County residents are always encouraged to reduce their waste, reuse what they can and recycle whatever possible. In addition, residents are encouraged to take advantage of the Authority’s facilities and programs to ensure that their waste is disposed of properly. Some other things that individuals can do to reduce their own impact on the environment include:

  • Swapping single use products with reusable products.
  • Ridesharing, riding a bike or walking to their destination whenever possible.
  • Using eco-friendly products, especially cleaners.
  • Educating themselves and others about the environment and environmental concerns.
  • And enjoying and appreciating the environment around us!

Free Drop-Off Recycling Event

The Authority will be holding its annual Free Drop-Off Recycling Event on Saturday April 27th from 10:00am to 2:00pm. The event is sponsored by Senator Joe Griffo and will take place at the Oneida-Herkimer Recycling Center located at 80 Leland Ave Extension in Utica. The event will include confidential paper shredding by ConfiData, medication and pharmaceutical collection by the DEC, and drive-through electronics recycling. More information about the event can be found at www.ohswa.org.

For more information, please visit www.ohswa.org or call the Authority at 315-733-1224. More information can also be found on the Authority’s Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn pages.