Landfills have adversely affected the environment. But does that mean that we should start sending the waste from homes, commercial and industrial properties to space in the future? After all, any trash sent towards the sun would burn up easily and within a short time. Sure, the process of sending the trash to space would be expensive, but the space available for landfills is running out very fast. By dumping more waste in landfills we might be risking contamination of the waterways but the choice to send the waste overseas is very expensive.
Australia stopped burning rubbish in the 20th century. That has led to the accumulation of solid waste in landfills. Each year, people dump around 20 million tonnes of garbage that makes its way to the many landfill sites, which are clustered around the capital cities. That represents around 40 percent of the waste people in Australia generate. Surprisingly, we do not know the number of landfills that exist in the country, their location and their size.
However, the government data shows that the registered sites are around 600 and around 2,000 unregulated sites, which might be smaller. Since the year 1990, the landfills have reduced but the average size has increased. The larger sites are becoming sophisticated and are under the management of private companies. Around 75 percent of the landfill waste produced within this country goes to only 38 sites.
What to find in the landfills
Waste in landfills exists in three categories – industrial and commercial waste, household rubbish and demolition and construction waste. On average, the domestic bins contain around 60 percent organic material with a larger percentage coming from garden waste (20 percent) and food (40 percent). It is the primary source of landfill gas, particularly methane, which the waste products as it decomposes. After collection, methane is combusted using electricity generation systems or a flare. Flaring of the landfill gas changes the methane into carbon dioxide, which does not contribute highly to global warming as methane does.
Of course, reducing landfill gas is the first important step. Application of new technologies in the anaerobic digestion and composting might help divert the organic materials from the landfills. Between 2013 and 2014, the commercial sector produced around 17 million tonnes of garbage, representing one-third of the waste in the country. Nearly 7 million tonnes of the waste ended up in the known landfills. Some of the trends in the commercial waste treatment are organic collection, sourcing separated foods and optional waste treatment such as grants and levies increase.
If water passes through hazardous or toxic waste, it will pick up the contaminants, therefore, contaminating the surrounding water and land. Over 40 percent of the waste in Australia or 19 million tonnes of waste produced in the country are a result of demolition and construction. The waste generally includes plastics, concrete, timber, metals, wood, cardboard, mixed site debris, asphalt, rocks and soil. And because state levies have made the recycling of the materials cheaper, only 8.5 million tonnes of the waste ends up in landfill. Around 10.5 million tonnes, which is equal to 55 percent is recovered and recycled. The recovery rates between 2008 and 2009 were greater than 75 percent. That was a result of great performing jurisdiction.
The future of landfills
So, will landfills be a part of the waste cycle in Australia in the future? Or, will space dumps be the future of waste management in the country? It can be hard to answer that, but if properly managed, landfills would provide safer waste disposal and help in the conservation of resources. We have seen governments invest highly in infrastructures for recovery of resources. That might be due to the increasing landfill levies. However, more is needed. The infrastructure report released in 2016 did not comment on recycling or waste. To provide well-integrated infrastructure, the government entities have to recognise that waste can deliver important services like water and electricity if managed properly.
Landfills are increasing faster than anything else is and the trash incinerators are polluting the planet than the trash itself does. We need to solve the limited space problem, but not by sending the trash to space. Even though the other planets are unoccupied and the atmospheres would burn the waste up very fast, the process would be more expensive and might cause other problems. More research in this area might be helpful.
Having a reliable rubbish removal service help take your trash to a landfill can certainty aid in proper management of waste. This will prevent illegal dumping of rubbish and junk on the streets and cause pollution on the planet. If you have any waste or rubbish that needs to be hauled away from your home, call Paul’s Rubbish Removal on 0407 125 125. Our cheapest quotes make our services quick and easy.