No matter which type of waste disposal is being considered, it all leads to one purpose: to remove waste from homes and offices. There are organizations that advocate for each type and even some that advocate for no waste at all. Each type of waste disposal has its own set of positive and negative effects, but, in the end, the biggest effect of waste disposal is that it helps create jobs.
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There are several types of waste disposal: landfilling, recycling, composting and incineration.
The Effects of Landfilling
Landfilling waste takes up land space and releases toxic chemicals into the environment if the landfill isn't properly lined. The lining of a landfill generally consists of a base of clay, a polyvinyl chloride membrane and a drainage layer such as gravel. If the landfill isn't properly lined, waste that is supposed to decompose frequently doesn't and will release methane into the atmosphere, waste resources and create an eye sore for years. Some landfills capture the methane and turn it into energy.
The Effects of Composting
Composting creates new soil, removes vegetable matter from the waste stream and provides a thriving ecosystem for various wildlife such as worms, insects and birds. There are composting techniques being tried that would allow more food, including meat, into the commercial composting operations.
The Effects of Recycling
Recycling is effective in recovering materials for reuse. These materials include wood, metals, plastic and glass. Recycling helps conserve natural resources and energy.
The Effects of Incineration
Most incinerators in the U.S. today are waste-to-energy plants. These incinerators take in waste and burn the waste into energy. Unfortunately, many of these plants release toxins into the atmosphere.
Waste disposal is a billion dollar industry. Regardless of whether waste is deposited into landfills, recycled or incinerated, the waste has to go somewhere. The industry is growing as more people look toward better recycling techniques and better land-use practices.