What happens at Landfill?

What happens at Landfill?
rubblish at a landfill

All You Need To Know About Landfill Today

It is important to deposit rubbish to keep our surroundings clean and hygienic. There are two common ways for burying rubbish. One is by dumping, which means an open hole in the ground where rubbish is dumped and animals swarm around. The other option is to design a structure on the ground where the waste can be kept isolated from the general public, animals, groundwater, etc. That’s what landfill is all about.

Landfill uses a clay liner to segregate the rubbish from the environment and keep it isolated. The main aim of is to bury the waste in an isolated manner so that it doesn’t affect the environment. Landfill doesn’t work as a compost pile where the waste can be decomposed quickly.

Why Are Landfills Important

Keeping the environment clean and hygienic has become more important than ever. It is necessary to keep rubbish in a way that it doesn’t affect the surroundings. Landfill is an effective approach to dumping rubbish and possibly isolating it from the environment; keeping the surroundings clean and hygienic.

Landfills are primarily designed not to break down the rubbish into a disposable form because they contain less oxygen and moisture that prevents the breaking-down process. Instead, these sites are carefully structured, filled and managed for up to 30 years until they are closed.

Parts of a Landfill

The major portions of a permitted landfill are:

The Bottom Liner: Separating and preventing buried waste from the natural soil and groundwater, the bottom liner is the first layer on the landfill. It is created using durable and puncture-resistant plastic that ranges up to 100 mils.

Cells: This is the area in a landfill that is constructed for disposing of waste. The cell size depends upon the area that is approved for landfill. The cells contain small cells beneath them. The daily waste is collected in the smaller cells from where the waste is lifted, and compaction machinery is used to compact and shred the waste, thereafter.

Leachate Collection System: There is a bottom surface in every landfill that is sloped to the lowest point. This is where the liquid is trapped, i.e. the leachate. It collects and removes the liquid from the waste through a series of perforated pipes and gravel packs.

Storm Water Drainage: This is a system designed to control water during a storm or rain.

Methane Collection System: In the absence of oxygen, the bacteria present in on-site is broken down. The process produces gas, of which 50% is methane. A series of pipes are attached to the landfill in order to collect the methane gas.

Cover or Cap: This is used to close the daily waste disposed of in the smaller cells. Materials such as flame-retardant fibre or foam are used as the cover. It generally ranges from 12 to 18 inches in height.

Landfill Mining Is the Next Boom in the Recycling Industry

Landfill sites have existed for the past 100 years to discard of unwanted waste. There are almost 500,000 sites in Europe. Experts have a major concern regarding these landfills as they are located in semi-urban environments, and they can lead to a major environmental hazard that can disturb the lifestyle of the general public. There is no doubting the assertion that landfills are the major source of methane emissions and other greenhouse gases.

At the Enhanced Landfill Mining Symposium held in 2015, it was concluded that waste excavation can be done to make the most of the waste without hampering the environment. By generating recyclable energy and goods from the waste, the sites can be put to good use.

If landfill mining is followed in every site, the locations can bring significant changes in the recycling industry and can contribute to the economy at an exponential rate. Landfill mining can enhance the recycling process and form high value-added products from the waste. With new plasma gasification technology, the transformation of waste into useful products and energy can be possible.

The enhanced landfill mining project is currently being explained under two flagships that are funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Programme and METGROW+. Landfill mining can bring the required eco-friendly change to the environment.

A legal framework for landfill mining needs to be prepared in order to allow safe mining in landfills that are close to the general public. It has become necessary to think differently about landfills. They are no longer the unwanted waste and obsolete materials that needs to be isolated. With an effective landfill mining process, the waste can be put to good use through recycled products and energy. There is little doubt that the future for landfill mining is steady and bright.

The Bottom Line

Landfill is an area where unwanted waste is dumped in an isolated manner to keep the surroundings clean and hygienic. There are plenty of  sites that accommodate the waste for as long as 30 years until they close. There are many hazards related to these landfills that can be managed with the help of mining.

With mining, the waste and energy from these sites can be recycled and used efficiently. The projects for landfill mining have already begun. If it gets on the right track, then landfill mining can bring significant changes to the environment and change people’s perspective towards the unwanted waste in these landfills.