What Effect Are Landfill Emissions Having On Our Planet?

Most businesses know the benefits of recycling, and have various used recycling machines in place to help support their waste management plans. Despite this, many companies are still sending huge amounts of waste to landfill, and it is having a devastating impact on our environment.

Landfills are generally made up of a huge mix of both commercial and household waste, and a large amount of this waste could be recycled using recycling machinery. While it is common knowledge that landfills are harmful to the planet, many fail to realise the full effect they are having on our environment.

What Happens To Landfills When They Are Full?

All landfills will have a maximum capacity, and once this has been reached, the area will be capped. This means a final layer of clay, covering materials, and vegetation is placed on top of the waste. Once a landfill is capped, the area can be used for light cultivation or recreation purposes, and the capped layer helps to contain the odours from the waste. Most landfills are maintained for 30 years after being capped, but it can take many years for a landfill to reach capacity.

Landfill Emissions Explained

It isn’t just that landfill sites are an eyesore and taking up large amounts of space, but they are also a major pollution source. Landfills let off leachate, toxins and greenhouse gases which are impacting the environment. All organic waste in landfill will produce a bacteria that helps to decay the rubbish. As this is broken down it produces acidic chemicals that when mixed with the liquids within the waste create landfill gas and leachate.

A lot of the waste that fails to go into recycling machinery and ends up in landfill contains toxic substances. This includes electronic appliances which contain PVC, solvents, acids, lead, mercury, arsenic and more. With time, the toxins spread into the nearby groundwater and soil, creating an environmental hazard which will last for many years. Leachate is also formed from landfill waste as it breaks down and leads to pollution in ground water and nearby water ways.

The biggest concern with landfill waste is the greenhouse gases that are produced. As organic waste is broken down, it releases methane into the air. Methane is more potent than other greenhouse gases such as carbon monoxide, and extremely damaging to the planet. The gases emitted from landfill are 30% to 44% carbon dioxide and 35% to 55% methane. If methane levels are allowed to build up, they can become extremely dangerous thanks to the flammable nature of the gas.

Landfills come with many issues for our environment, but unfortunately, they are a critical infrastructure for waste management. The amount of waste going into landfill can be dramatically reduced through the use of recycling machinery and equipment. Businesses can make a big impact on the planet by incorporating the correct used recycling machines into waste management plans.

For more information on used recycling equipment and how it can help reduce landfill, contact us today.