Garbage Dumps Become More Efficient

Is that a contradiction in terms?

Approximately 330 million tons of garbage filled landfills in the United States last year alone, according to Solid Waste Digest, a trade publication for the waste industry. However, remarkably, the capacity of these landfills has been increasing even though very few new dumps are being built. How is this possible?

It turns out that landfill managers have been using methods that allow them to pack more trash into a landfill then what was previously thought possible. Some landfills pile tons of dirt on top of sections of their dumps and then six months later scrape the dirt aside. Like stomping your foot into the waste bin to make more room, this system works to create 30 to 40 more feet of depth — more space for more trash.

Other methods to increase landfill capacity include blowing water and air into the dumps to quicken decomposition and therefore reducing the size of buried garbage. Or, they are using other methods, such as giant 59-ton compacting machines, to bury trash more tightly.

The good news here is that this efficiency will help to reduce the need for new landfills. The bad news is, again, the United States produces 330 million tons of garbage a year! New York City produces so much garbage that it exports 25,000 tons of trash every day to other states and other cities.

So, while I think this new efficiency is great, I also think that we (you and I) still play a significant role in reducing the amount of trash put into landfills. Reduce, reuse, recycle!

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

hi im 13 years old and i am doing a landfill site project. i would like to no how yu would protect the groundwater when yu are going to be closing the "dump". like putting a bottom liner system. and if putting a bottom liner is it, wat is it made out of?


posted on Sun, 11/06/2005 - 9:25am
babyblue's picture
babyblue says:

I would like to know if at the rate we are going at how much longer will there be no more landfills left.

posted on Fri, 02/23/2007 - 5:23pm
Nicole-Debbie's picture
Nicole-Debbie says:

i am also doing a theases on garbage and how us humans can involve our methods of disposing of trash. i think there should be more things like packaging products like becuase most of the garbage is products and what we can do to stop it because big companies such as "dads cookies" are making more packaging like for 2 cookies packaged in side other packaging and recycling what things we can do and to make it easier.things that help people.....and esspecialy people who reasearch garbage like me and many others.

posted on Thu, 03/29/2007 - 3:48pm
SunShiva's picture
SunShiva says:

good luck with your theasus. do you think that the dump/trash pick up/landfill companies go through trash and pick out recyclables? i hope they do! i just was thinking that would make up for people who dont recycle and it would save space at the landfill. i have thought about calling up the trash companies in my area. i wonder if they would admit that they do. im sure they can make money by pulling out goods to re-cycle. i hope they do that!

posted on Wed, 04/28/2010 - 11:00am
rory's picture
rory says:

VBS TV just finished the first of 5 episodes about the infamous Payatas garbage dump in the Philippines. I think you will find it interesting.'s%20City%20Of%20Garbage

posted on Mon, 05/14/2007 - 7:58pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

How doo gabage dumps holds so much dump? How much can they hold?

posted on Mon, 06/18/2007 - 11:54am
smart's picture
smart says:

what kind of a question is that. You can only know how much a dump can hold by knowing it size- depth and circumference...You should be glad that you put your comment from anonymous!

posted on Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:16pm
Sorany ka's picture
Sorany ka says:

Yea keep packing that garbage in the earth. Sooner or later its going to come back up at bite us in the A$$. The earth is going to be worser than it is if we keep this up

posted on Wed, 11/19/2008 - 10:46am
Joe's picture
Joe says:

All true, but it has to go somewhere. As much as I try to reduce my footprint I create waste. The Earth is going to be worse no matter what we do because the human population keeps growing at an extremely rapid pace - but how much worse is something we can have an impact on through our actions and choices.

posted on Sun, 11/23/2008 - 2:15pm
Harshit Singh's picture

Well has anyone thought of making Garbage Dumps just more than that so while you're doing something bad your doing something to fill up the cost too... kind of if it IS NECESSARY to put up these garbage dumps lets increase it utility ..for example in India our Garbage Dumps become breeding Grounds for raptors like Black Kites(milvus migrans) and Tawny Eagles(Aquila Rapax)...

posted on Thu, 06/10/2010 - 3:41am

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