We are all pretty aware by now that waste which isn’t reused or recycled in some way generally ends up at landfill sights across the country, but what happens when those sights are full to capacity?
Landfill sights are created by covering waste with soil between the layers. Underground pipes take the methane that seeps out from the waste and channel it to electricity generators where it is burned to make electricity. CO2 is released during the burning process, but this has a far smaller negative effect on the environment than the methane would were it to be released into the atmosphere, hence burning is the favoured option.
The waste is compacted and covered, more waste is laid, compacted and covered and so the cycle continues, but at some point we quite literally reach tipping point and landfill sights become too full to cope with any more waste. Even once a sight closes its doors and the rubbish trucks stop coming in each day with more waste, the pipes will continue to draw the methane in for another 30 years, rendering the area unusable for 3 decades until it will likely be planted upon and used as an open green space.
Landfill sites are closing regularly, with the UK’s number of landfills falling from 1,500 in the 1990s to fewer than 250 in the last few years, some of these are full and some were closed due to a shortage of demand. We are recycling a lot more than in previous generations and the positive impact of this is that less and less waste is ending up at landfill. In 2010 it was warned that unless something changed, we would run out of landfill sights by 2018, however at that point an estimated 90% of the country’s waste was going to landfill, this has dropped to 50% and is expected to have fallen further to 10% by 2020.
Households are recycling and reusing a lot more and many landfill sights are now bringing in almost 100% commercial and industrial waste as opposed to black bags from household rubbish bins. Businesses can do more to recycle and we can help to show you how with waste audits and waste management plans to suit the needs of your company, so get in touch today for more information.