Landfill Facts

Landfill Facts
A landfill is a disposal site where waste is buried, and is one of the most common methods around the world used to dispose of and manage waste. While landfills can provide an economical solution to dispose of the waste created by humans around the world, the environmental impact can be devastating when improperly managed. When bio-degradable waste is deposited into a landfill it decomposes and releases gases, which contribute to global warming. Decomposing waste can also contaminate the land, water and contribute to air pollution. Some landfills have ways to collect the gas and use it for energy. Reducing waste and recycling are ways to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills in the first place.
Interesting Landfill Facts:
Other names for a landfill include garbage dump, rubbish dump, and simply dump. Historically it was referred to as a midden.
It is estimated that every person in the United States creates more than 4.5 pounds of garbage a day.
Reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills is important as they are running out of space around the world.
It is estimated that of all the trash sent to landfills roughly 30% is paper (recyclable), 18% is food waste (recyclable), and 16% is plastic. Most of this is recyclable and should not be ending up in landfills.
A landfill in New York is so big that it can be seen from outer space.
Although the number of landfills in the United States has decreased, the remaining ones are much larger. The amount of waste being sent to landfills in the United States has tripled since the 1960s.
Sending grass clippings, brush, and food scraps to the landfill is not healthy for the environment. These items can be composted and used in gardens to grow plants, or they can be used as mulch. These items take much longer to decompose in a landfill.
People believe that biodegradable materials will decompose in the landfill. Paper is one of these items, however newspapers with legible writing can be found in landfills that are more than 40 years old.
Some landfills can be capped when they are full and used for other purposes. Golf courses, resorts, and even nature preserves are sometimes built on top. But this doesn't change what is sitting below the surface, creating gases and potentially contaminating the environment.
Some landfills are managed in such a way to confine the waste to the smallest possible area, to compact waste which will reduce volume, and to cover the waste with soil to help promote decomposition.
Another risk of pollution comes from the tires of the trucks used to collect garbage and take it to the landfill. These trucks drive over the garbage and carry the rotting material back into the environment, potentially contaminating roads with bacteria and other hazardous material. This can then contaminate ground water and nearby soil.
Popular visitors to some landfills are bears, and other wildlife. Rats and flies can also carry infectious diseases from landfills, causing epidemics if not properly contained.
A major downside to landfills is the odor, which can be very intense even when properly managed, and can decrease property values in some cases.

Related Links:
Environmental Science Facts
Animals Facts
cell phone Timeline
San Francisco Facts
Demographic and Environmental Changes: c. 1900 - Present

Educational Videos