Ways to Prevent the Effects of Landfills

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Landfills can have harmful effects on the ecology of an area, creating pockets of natural gas below ground, sustaining dangerous fires for an extended amount of time and constantly growing and needing more landfill space. You can help reduce these effects by recycling and reducing the amount of solid waste you produce in your home. Other methods for reducing these effects require your city to get directly involved.

Recycle

  • Recycling directly reduces the amount of solid waste in landfills, allowing cities to use landfills for longer, reducing the number of additional landfills and reducing the amount of excess sold waste in each landfill. According to the United States Fire Administration, recycling could reduce the amount of solid waste in landfills by more than 50 percent. This reduction decreases the amount of materials in landfills, decreases the toxic exposure resulting from landfills and reduces the overall danger from fire and ground toxicity resulting from these materials.

Reduce and Reuse

  • You reduce your solid waste creation by making decisions in your life that reduce the amount of waste you create, such as reading your paper electronically or purchasing a reusable water bottle. Additionally, lawn waste accounts for more than 10 percent of the landfill waste, says the United States Fire Administration. You can reuse your lawn waste by spreading it into your lawn where it becomes mulch for future yield. Your waste reduction and your reuse of items around your home decrease the amount of solid waste in landfills and reduce the potential dangers of toxic landfill fires.

Waste Compression

  • Toxic pockets of harmful gas in a landfill poison the ground around a landfill and pose a potential risk for landfill fires, which are both dangerous and hazardous. Waste compression is the technique where landfill operators compress your waste into tight bundles, allowing for easy storage and a reduction in the creation of toxic pockets. Additionally, waste compression decreases the chance of having dangerous landfill fires. Landfill fires are extremely dangerous and difficult for firefighters to put out. The process of putting out a landfill fire first requires that firefighters locate the actual fire, a process that can take time.

Waste Cap

  • When a landfill has reached its capacity, landfill workers construct a specialized cap to rest over the finished landfill. This cap is constructed of earth, designed to reduce the amount of water allowed to seep into old landfills while sustaining plant growth. Additionally, the city designates the land as a former landfill site, disallowing any future development of the area and rezoning it as unusable land. The reduction in water allowed into the landfill prevents future ground and water pollution resulting from a site and allows for new plant growth over the former site.

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