Inside a Landfill – Part 1

Courtesy of Issues for a Changing World

While this junk removal company has ambitious goals to divert waste from the landfill, let’s face it, some stuff still ends up in the landfill. With a system-wide average of more than 60% diversion, how is the true waste that cannot be recycled or donated to charity, treated? Like most environmentally-sensitive systems of this magnitude, modern landfills are a complex and costly operation.

Numerous considerations must be taken into account when a new landfill site is chosen, most important of which is the ground’s suitability for housing waste. Clay deposits and other natural features are critical in preventing contaminants from leaching into the surrounding natural environment. New landfills are required to have a liner of clay or plastic to prevent leachate, water that has been contaminated by passing through the landfill, from escaping into the adjacent earth. A series of drains collects the leachate and brings it to the surface where it can be treated.

Packing our waste tightly inside the earth also creates Methane Gas, so landfills are equipped with recovery systems that monitor Methane Gas.

An underground rock and soil aquifer capable of yielding usable water to the surface lies underneath the landfill. Wells are in place here to ensure regular testing of water to ensure drinking water is safe.

In modern landfills, a clay cap or layer of soil is applied daily to exposed trash to ward off rodents and unsavory smells. In addition, a synthetic cap is used when a section has reached capacity and native grasses are grown on top.

Nobody wants to have a landfill open in their neighbourhood. Luckily most landfills are built in remote areas. However, they are a necessity in our world. According to Michigan Technological University, from where all of my information has been derived, work on a landfill site begins only after the site passes strict legal, environmental, and engineering tests. It is not a quick procedure; it can take five years before the landfill is ready to use, at a cost of $2 to $4 million.

Part 2 will explain an enlightening fact a garbage expert recently uncovered when he studied the contents of a landfill. Also how a landfill breaks down items, and how you can feel better about contributing to a landfill when your items cannot be recycled or donated to charity.

1-800-GOT-JUNK?’s goal is to divert 75% from the landfill system-wide by 2014. See our home page diversion ticker today!