We are all wasteful. Each year, an average person throws out over a tonne of rubbish into our waste bins. And our rubbish bins contain everything from organic and food waste to paper, plastic and even metals.
Even though many of us now recycle and use recycling bins, most of us are aware that much of the rubbish that we throw out ends up in landfill sites, often referred to as rubbish dumps, garbage dumps or tips. But these rubbish dumps are not the scourge on the environment many of us assume and far from just being just large pits where tonnes of rubbish is piled up for all eternity, land fills are constructed after a lot of thought and consideration.
For a site to be viable for a landfill or rubbish dump it has to adhere to many requirements, which include:
Location – the location of a landfill is incredibly important. Firstly, dumps can’t be built too near to people’s homes because of smells, the effects on house prices and disapproval of local residents. But also landfills need to have good access by road or rail, be cost effective (cheap) land to buy.
Type – Rubbish dumps are built in three different guises: Pits;often using existing holes forged my mining. Canyons; using holes forged by nature; and mounds; piling rubbish above ground.
Stability – Landfills have to be on stable ground. There should be no earth quake faults, water tables, rivers, streams or flood plains.
Capacity – Any planning of a landfill requires enough capacity for the authorities that use the dump. Busy city centres where millions of rubbish bins are emptied every week will require larger capacities than smaller areas where the amount of waste discarded is less.
Environment Safeguards – land fills are built under strict guidelines to prevent as much environmental impact as possible. Soil, water systems and other effects on the environment are seriously considered before any site is allocated as a land fill. And while a former land fill site will be no good to build houses on, in fact, many land fills are often turned into nature parks once they are filled which can off-set any damage done to the environment while the landfill was in use.