What happens to trash in landfills?


Like what’s preventing us from living in a world like WALL-E in the future?

In: 4841


It depends on the trash. Some things, like food or wood, decay pretty quickly. It the Methane released is captured and burned into CO2 to power the landfill or make electricity, this is not big deal.

Things like metals decay very slowly, and they are highly recyclable, so you really ought to recycle them. Glass is even more stable, sl you should recycle that also.

Things like plastic or computer boards will be there for a very long time. Either you build something on top of them or eventually it might be worth it to dig them up and reprocess them. That’s why you should minimize the use of plastic. Even if your recycling system takes plastic, it’s almost never actually recycled into something. Post-consumer recycled plastic is 1-2% of all the post-consumer plastic. **Don’t use plastic if there is another way to go.**

EDIT: I’ve since been informed it’s more like 2% of total greenhouse gases coming from landfill. I stand corrected!

Apparently 25% of all greenhouse gases come from methane emitted by food waste biodegrading anaerobically in landfills. This is not good.

If your local area separates food/organic waste, please do so diligently. If your local area doesn’t, consider home composting if you can.

And above all try to generate as little food waste as possible.