After disposing of your waste, does it ever come to your mind where all these trashes go? While some of us know they are intended to rest in landfill sites, not all of us understand the problems related to it. According to experts and environmentalists, the earth is running out of landfill space.
When we think of landfills, we see it as an enormous hole gradually filled up with trash. It is divided into smaller cells that should be sealed once it becomes full. As the waste in the cell rots, it will then release CO2 and Methane gas that can be used to generate electricity.
As the entire landfill becomes full, it will be used for another purpose such as football pitches, vegetation or golf course. However, because of the garbage underneath, there are some restrictions as to how the land can further develop.
But the majority of us don’t really think about all of this, since we don’t deliver it to the landfill ourselves. In fact nearly all household who tidy up and collect waste for disposal, do so by hiring a skip bin from their local hire places. This is not surprising since there are many cheap hire places nearby.
The Problem with Landfills
Most household waste from the 1920s to 1970s ended up in human-made craters all over the country. Thus, they resulted to environmental disasters. Decomposing trash produces a thick liquid called “leachate” that go down directly to the soil and groundwater. The leachate can contain hazardous chemicals while rotting garbage releases a significant amount of greenhouse gases straight into the atmosphere.
Fortunately, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in 1976 was passed into law which changed the way people store their trash. Landfill operators are required to have disposal facilities including a subterranean piping system that will collect the leachate to be hauled in sewage treatment plans. Likewise, the facility should have vent system to reduce the production of greenhouse gases.
Loose waste is another issue with landfills. It attracts diseases-carrying insects such as flies. Thus, it should have a cover all the time. Moreover, the technological advancements of designing and operating modern landfills are becoming more and more expensive. Hence, landfill operators tend to create mega landfills.
Should we fill the Landfills?
According to EPA, as of 1996, around 55% of the United States’ trashes are in landfills while only 28% of recycled items. There is particular garbage that shouldn’t be in landfills such as hazardous materials like thinner, paint, batteries, electronic items, and household cleaners. Instead of including them in the usual garbage collection schedule in your area, take to a hazardous waste drop-off site.
Still, it is necessary that we reduce the amount of waste we generate daily to lessen the garbage in our landfill sites.