As the world’s population continues to increase and economies boom, waste disposal is becoming a difficult matter. Many years ago, collecting trash and dumping it far away from was the simple answer and this process emerged into what we know today as landfill. Yet, with the output of waste inflating and masses of land being used up by our rubbish, landfill is no longer a sustainable option. But how else can we dispose of our waste? This article takes a look at the primary waste disposal methods in use today and their benefits.
Most of our waste ends up in landfill. At these sites, rubbish is either dumped directly on top of the ground or in an un-used hole such as a quarry or old mining site. Almost any type of hazardous and non-hazardous waste can be disposed in landfill and this is still the most cost-effective waste management solution.
Waste at landfill is layered in thin spreads before it’s compacted and then covered in a layer of earth to help prevent odour, litter and pest infestations. Over time, microbes will decompose the waste and when this process mixes with rainwater, it creates leachate. As this liquid is harmful to land, animals and water-supplies it is dispersed safely via a system of pipes. When a landfill is full to its maximum capacity it is then covered with an engineered cap such as clay or soil to make the area suitable for future use in agriculture or amenities.
Incineration is the process of burning waste to transform it into either gas, steam, ash or flue. This common thermal waste treatment is used to reduce waste before it goes to landfill. An advantage of incineration is that it can reduce the volume of waste by half and create energy for use in electricity and heating. The process is pollution controlled to reduce greenhouse gases and the harm to the environment.
Open burning is another method of incineration which involves smoke being released into the air without passing through a chimney. As this process doesn’t use pollution control, it’s very harmful to the environment. Yet, open burning is still in use by many authorities as it can reduce waste volumes very quickly and cheaply.
Recycling is the process of transforming waste material into new products. As the world’s raw resources dwindle and countries are pressured to improve their sustainability, this is becoming a key part of waste disposal everywhere. Recycling doesn’t only lessen the strain on landfill space but reduces the need to use up raw materials to make new products. The process also uses less energy than producing products from raw materials but is often a more expensive alternative to waste disposal in landfill.
Composting is a completely natural process which involves breaking down materials into organic compounds. The result is a soil-like substance called compost which can be used as a fertiliser in gardening and agriculture. Composting can be carried out on a small scale in gardens or on a large scale at farms. Any organic matter from fruit and vegetable scraps to lawn weeds and chicken manure can be used to make compost.
This article was written by Daniel Jones on behalf of www.theskipcompany.co.uk, a nationwide skip hire and waste management service.