Landfill Management by CEAI
Any waste that cannot be recycled or reused must be disposed of, and that somewhere is typically a landfill. Landfills are the earliest form of waste management. However, in the modern day, we realize that these sites aren’t good for our planet.
What is a Landfill?
A landfill is a location where waste is disposed of, either on the ground directly (land raising) or by filling an unintentional void in the earth (landfilling). Most modern landfills are engineered and managed sites for the disposal of solid waste. Landfills are placed, designed, operated, and monitored to ensure compliance with severe laws and regulations.
Additionally, they have on-site environmental monitoring systems and are made to safeguard the environment against toxins that could be found in the waste stream. These monitoring systems are put in place to check for any sign of groundwater contamination and for landfill gas, as well as provide extra precautions.
Why do we need landfills?
To properly dispose of trash, also known as garbage, we need a landfill. In the past, it wasn’t unusual for all garbage to end up in a landfill (or dump). But environmental conscience has taught us to be frugal with our garbage. These days, it has been a fairly popular practice for customers to segregate their waste into various categories before it is carted away by the garbage collection companies, who serve as outside contractors for respective governments.
The idea is to ensure that trash is handled in a manner that ensures minimal impact on a landfill. In fact, new technologies are being developed to reduce the quantity of waste that is sent to landfills each year. Soil, scraps of concrete, and bricks from commercial and building projects are now the most often discovered things in landfills. This is known as inert waste because it is unlikely to react with other rubbish, making it relatively safe for landfill.
Why are Landfills bad for the environment?
The emission of methane gas from landfills is the primary environmental issue. Methane gas is generated during the breakdown of organic material in landfills. Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases and a major cause of climate change since it is 84 times more efficient than carbon dioxide at absorbing heat from the sun. In addition to methane, landfills also release water vapor, carbon dioxide, and small amounts of oxygen, nitrogen, and other non-methane organic molecules. If not under control, these gases can also contribute to climate change and lead to pollution.
There will always be a place for a landfill in a waste management system, no matter how much prevention, reuse, and recycling a society manages to achieve. Having the capacity to recycle or recover all garbage under all circumstances will not be economically sound. While aiming for more prevention, it is economically unwise to spend on recycling and recovery of garbage that is bound to disappear.
Furthermore, garbage production varies seasonally. There are instances when the volume of waste is more than what can be recycled, recovered, or burned. Some wastes cannot be burned, recycled, or recovered. Landfilling is the best solution for some waste types. Additionally, waste shouldn’t be left in the streets whenever a recovery or incineration plant is down for maintenance, repairs, or an accident.
This means that some waste must be landfilled, even in a culture that values recycling and resource recovery. The “safety net” of a good waste management system is the landfill locations. So that future generations won’t have to worry about them, landfilling should be done. It must be carried out sustainably.