In the past all our waste went straight to landfill instead of being recycled. Problems started to arise because landfills were filling up too fast because of the waste that doesn’t breakdown such as metal and glass.
These items sit there and take thousands of years to biodegrade. Then new rules were introduced by government bodies to educate people about recycling and to prevent recyclable waste going to landfill. Now governments are trying to reduce the number of landfill sites and promote recycling. To do this they charge taxes to people to dump their general waste that cannot be recycled.
Landfills are still needed but planning is essential. Modern landfills now have to follow strict rules when building a new landfill site. Choosing an area to locate can be difficult because it has to be far away from people’s homes and businesses. It cannot be located close to natural water sources like rivers and underground spring so it doesn’t pollute the water system.
Modern landfills need a plastic layer called a landfill linear at the bottom of the landfill hole to
stop the waste seeping underground into the water system. Several water wells are built to monitor the water table to make sure the waste is not polluting the water. When the waste breaks down it creates a gas called methane that can be explosive when near a flame. So the levels of methane gas have to be checked to avoid danger to workers. The methane can also be collected and sold to energy companies to make electricity. At the bottom of the landfill above the plastic landfill linear lie pipes that collect water from the waste that seeps to the bottom. This is called a leaching system that pumps the water to the top were it is continues to a treatment plant to make the water clean again.
At the end of each day the landfill is covered by a top layer of clay to stop animals from being attracted to the landfill. It also helps reduce the bad odour caused by the waste. Massive bull dozers with special spiked metal wheels are used to push the soil and level off the waste.