A landfill is a large area of land or an excavated site that is specifically designed and built to receive wastes.
Today, about 56 percent of our country’s trash is disposed of in landfills.
Items such as appliances, books, newspapers, magazines, plastic containers, packaging, food scraps and other west from residential, commercial, and some industrial sources.
Municipal Solid Waste Landfills can accept chemical products such as paint and cleaning products.
The decomposition of organic waste in landfills produces a gas which is composed primarily of methane, a greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Landfill gas can be recovered and utilized to generate electricity, fuel industries and heat buildings. There are two major benefits to recovering and utilizing landfill gas. The first is that capturing and combusting landfill gas prevents substances like methane from escaping to the atmosphere; the second is that using the energy from landfill gas can replace the use of non-renewable sources of energy such as coal, oil, or natural gas.
While landfill gas recovery is a method to deal with the organic materials already in landfills, diverting organic materials such as food and yard waste from landfills (using composting or anaerobic digestion) will reduce the production of methane in the first place, and can also generate renewable energy and useful products such as compost.
Landfills are important because Landfills contain garbage and serve to prevent contamination between the waste and the surrounding environment, especially groundwater.
Landfills are not designed to break down trash, merely to bury it. That’s because they contain minimal amounts of oxygen and moisture, which prevents trash from breaking down rapidly. So landfills are carefully filled, monitored and maintained while they are active and for up to 30 years after they are closed.
The difference between a dump and a landfill is a dump is an open hole in the ground where trash is buried and where animals often swarm. Dumps offer no environmental protection and are not regulated.
Of the estimated 251 million tons of consumer solid waste generated each year in the U.S., approximately 32.5 percent of the trash is recycled or composted, 12.5 percent is burned and the remaining 55 percent is buried in landfills.
Landfills must be open and available every day. While the majority of its customers are municipalities, commercial and construction companies, residents are also permitted to use the landfill in most cases.
A typical landfill is divided into 17 sections (or stations), each having a specific purpose. The landfill’s entrance has a recycling center with dedicated containers for specified materials. Generally, the recycling area is open to residents and is free to use.
Customers with larger trash loads are sometimes charged to dispose their trash. These are generally construction, demolition or commercial companies.
Landfills present potential threats to both the environment and human health. Although landfills are lined to protect the surrounding environment, malfunctions can still occur.
Chemicals and gasses pass through the liner and its plastic tubes, they become brittle, swell and breakdown. As a result, not only is leakage possible, it’s almost inevitable.
The environmental problems caused by landfills are numerous. While there are many problems with landfills, the negative effects are most commonly placed into two distinct categories: atmospheric effects and hydrological effects. While these effects are both of equal importance, the specific factors that drive them are important to understand on an individual basis.
How A Landfill Is Built
There are strict regulations on where a landfill can be built and how it can operate. The process always starts with a proposal. If approved, an environmental study must be done on the prospective spot in order to determine various environmental factors:
The necessity of the area of land for