PKSC 3680 Lecture 3: Landfills

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Landfills, Energy Use, and Recovery
Packaging Disposal Options
o Landfill landmark incident
1987 Garbage scow left Long Island loaded with city
refused, traveled 6,000 miles in 6 months looking for a
place to dump the trash
It ended up back in Long Island where the waste was
incinerated
This convinced people that landfills were filling up and that
we were running out of space for landfills
o Landfills space
1987 estimated that ¼ of major cities in the US would be
out of landfill space
LA was expected to run out in 1991
Corresponded with raises in fees to dump in a landfill
o Landfills other “problems”
1987 study found that many landfills didn’t meet
standards with regard to groundwater pollution
prevention
NIMBY attitude for new landfill sites
o Landfills solutions
Government incentives to reduce landfills
Recycling and incineration were used as solutions
1985 83% landfill, 7% incineration
1988 73% landfill, 14% incineration, and 13% recycling
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2
1990 66.6% landfill, 14.9% incineration, 16.3% recycling,
and 2.1% composting
We don’t have industrial compost facilities as part of
waste management in the US, we don’t compost our trash
in our backyard, we don’t have a proper way of disposal of
compost
o Landfills
50 years ago, by law, open dumps were replaced by
sanitary landfills
Open dumps often burned and only allowed refuse, so
filled slowly but an eyesore
Landfills refuse is compacted (packed very tight), air and
water is excluded and covered with dirt daily
When completely filled it is covered with gravel
Fills quickly
Playgrounds often built on top of these
In many cases, it was the open dumps that were closing,
not the landfills since they couldn’t be upgraded to
sanitary landfills
There is land in rural areas, but in cities and suburbs they
are major producers of garbage due to concentration of
populations
Political issues that prevent rural land from serving as
landfill sites
Bottom line: we are not running out of landfills space,
there are only political issues that are affecting the
opening of new sites
o Studying our trash
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