An Analysis of the Exhaustion of Landfill Capacities in the United States

Many people dispose of their trash not knowing or caring where it ends up. Usually trash will end up in a landfill, unless it is recycled. A landfill is an area of land containing trash put beneath the surface either covered by ashes or dirt. It is sometimes lined by either rubber or plastic. are a necessity, but they have drawbacks that have left many people concerned. In the next few paragraphs these concerns will be explained.

can be located in many places, but are almost never located near or in cities or other heavily populated areas. They are usually located near bodies of water so that the EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency, will be less likely to detect leakage ( 1). Leakage is when chemicals like leachates and other harmful materials that result from decomposing trash begin to leak out of the . When are located near bodies of water and are not properly maintained, chemicals and other materials can leak out and will go into the water which will be extremely hard to clean but will be hard for the EPA to detect. Doing this will allow the companies to save money because they will not have to barrel the leachates and pay to have them properly disposed of or stored (1).

There are many things deposited in . Garbage, rubbish, ashes, large wastes, dead animals, sewagetreatment solids, industrial wastes, mining wastes and agricultural wastes are all materials deposited in (SWD 1). Many of these materials, about 50%, could be recycled, like glass, plastic, paper, etc., instead of being put in . Some trash put in is biodegradable, and some will never decompose. Food, yard wastes and paper were found in from around 50 years ago, and they never did decompose. A newspaper was found dating back to earlier than 1960 that was supposed to decompose in five weeks, but is still visible in the landfill after 40 years. About 50% of all discarded food will degrade within 20 years which is a very slow process. Conditions are not always suitable for . Lack of sun and moisture slows the process of decomposition (WDM 1).

Even though not all of landfills characteristics are good there are many that help us a lot. On the positive side, either safely dispose of garbage or hide it. If there were no , garbage would be all over the streets and disease would be rampant and many people would die. Water would be polluted and people would be knee deep in garbage. are helpful because they are a different way of getting rid of waste other than incinerators, composting and just burning waste yourself in your own backyard. More negative effects from are polluted water and land. They also take up land that cannot be used for anything else until the trash decomposes which might not even happen. can be explosive if proper ventilation isnt given, this could cause serious injuries. When there is not enough ventilation, methane will build up and could easily explode (WDM 1).

The prices of everything having to do with , such as tipping fees and workers wages, have gone up in recent years. are also filling up and closing. By 1990, over half of the cities in America had exhausted their landfill capacity. With the decrease in the number of the tipping fees per ton of waste have increased drastically. Between 1986 and 1987, tipping fees per ton on average have increased 67% and many people expect to see this cost percentage rise (WDM 1).

have many pros and cons, never the less they have done the job all these years and will hopefully continue to improve. Studies are being done to prevent leakage in . Scientists have even been thinking about electronic , which means instead of just burying trash in the ground, machines will be used to help decompose trash. Eventually will be replaced with a new type of waste disposal system that is more sanitary and inexpensive than . Many companies now are putting food in biodegradable containers to help the waste problem. This is helping as well as recycling, which provides an alternative for Recycling lets us reuse our materials over and over again without having to leave them to sit in a landfill (SWD all, WDM 1).