Some University of New Mexico students working to save our planet went on a unique field trip. 

“I think it’s very eye-opening, surprised we have so much trash,” a UNM student said.

Students visited the Cerro Colorado landfill on Albuquerque’s west mesa to see first hand what happens to our trash.

They also got to see the “Gas to Energy” project. This machine converts the methane gas that is emitted from the decomposing trash into energy. It’s then piped over to the Metropolitan Detention Center and powers a boiler. 

Students and professors say visits like this one are very important learning, too. 

“It’s a key tenant of the program to get our students out into the community to have these hands-on learning experiences, to actually see first hand what is happening with community and sustainable initiatives like we are seeing right there,” UNM Sustainability Program lecturer Jessica Rowland said.

“Trash should be thought of as a resources, not some sort of waste. [It] can create more resources and can be something that is used as a sustainable method of energy,” student Jahro Parrish said. 

The UNM Sustainability Program has been around for 11 years. It’s an undergraduate minor degree. 

Professors say students who take the courses go into a wide range of careers from farming to economic development and urban planning.