Landfills, Waste Management And Recycling

By: Michiel Van Kets


Waste amounts to millions of tons every year and how to deal with it can be a real challenge. Regardless of rising efforts in the fight against trash there really is no completely safe way to dispose of it all, that's why local and regional governments, as well as waste management companies, are looking at more effective ways to reuse and recycle.

There are still lots of things that end up in the trash that really shouldn't be there as many of them can be dismantled and used for new items, or repaired, or are made from natural resources, for instance trees, minerals, oil, gas and metals. There was a time when we would simply throw our electrical items into the bin along with everything else, however those days are gone and most of us are now a lot more educated about the toxins electronic waste can produce when not disposed of correctly.

Reusing and recycling helps ease the amount of waste as well as keeping precious materials out of landfills, and puts a check on the rise of pollution. When we recycle things fewer materials are wasted and non-renewable resources preserved.

The percentage of everyday waste materials that can be recycled is very high, and although even recycling uses power and resources it makes much more sense to use materials that are already there rather than making things completely from scratch.

Some waste is extremely difficult to dispose of and lies around for hundreds of years, even thousands in some cases. When it ends up in a landfill it breaks down very slowly as there is less oxygen and moisture in a landfill to speed up its decomposition. As rainwater falls onto the landfill it mixes with harmful chemicals and other particles from the decaying waste which forms a liquid known as leachate.

Unlike newer landfills, the old types were never fitted with safety elements, for instance these days new landfills are fitted with a liner underneath them to protect against chemicals and toxins leaking into the soil. If leachate seeps into the soil it can pollute the ground water, wetlands, and surrounding rivers and lakes.

As waste decomposes it also produces gases that are toxic, typically methane and carbon dioxide that are both major contributors to global warming. Landfills built in recent years are constructed with pipes that collect leachate, which is then sent to a sewage treatment facility to be treated, and to capture the gases for potential use for industrial purposes.

If a landfill is closed down the government has a responsibility to ensure the surrounding environment is safe and a duty to inspect, monitor closely, and maintain it for a number of years before it can be deemed safe to be used for another purpose.

Waste isn't only concerned with landfills of course, anyone running a business will know that waste disposal can be a nightmare, trying to organize waste streams and where they should be sent to be recycled or reclaimed, and so on, can be a major headache.

Thankfully there are qualified companies that can organize the collection of your waste no matter what size the business, and they offer a lot of other support. They provide skip hire solutions across a wide range of dry and solid waste streams, advice businesses on how to set up and operate a recycling service, and help dispose of disused IT equipment whilst at the same time improving businesses environmental performance.

For larger sites onsite personnel are also available with specialist knowledge and skills in the collection, sorting and removal of materials off site for all types of industrial waste streams. Check out waste management today and help the environment and your business.

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Michiel Van Kets writes articles for William Wright about waste disposal and skip hire. Veolia has become the industry leaders in all facets of resource recovery and waste management, as well as industrial services such as industrial cleaning and facilities management.

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