What is a Landfill?
A landfill is an area of land that is used to dump garbage, either directly on the ground (landraising) or filling an unwanted hole in the ground (landfilling).
Most modern landfills are engineered and managed facilities for the disposal of solid waste. Landfills are located, designed, operated, and monitored to ensure compliance with stingent rules and regulations. They are also designed to protect the environment from contaminants, which may be present in the waste stream and have on-site environmental monitoring systems. These monitoring systems are put in place to check for any sign of groundwater contamination and for landfill gas, as well as provide additional safeguards.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in the United States, landfills must meet stringent design, operation and closure requirements established under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
Why do we need landfills?
We need landfill so that trash (also referred to as garbage) can be disposed properly.
In days past, it wasn't uncommon for all trash to find itself headed to a landfill (or dump). But environmental consciousness has taught us to be frugal with our waste. These days, it has become a very common practice for consumers to separate their trash into proper categories before it is hauled away by the garbage collection companies, who work as outside contractors for respective municipalities.
General trash/garbage categories include:
- Municipal Solid Waste (organic waste)
- Greens and clippings (from our gardens)
- Recyclable Goods (cans, bottles, newspapers, and cardboard)
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 amount of rubbish that is sent to landfill each year. The most common items found these days in landfills comes from construction and commercial businesses, such as soil, concrete and brick rubble. This is known as inert waste because it is unlikely to react with other rubbish, making it relatively safe for landfill.