Solid Waster Resources

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Traditional Aboriginal Knowledge

Solid Waste Resources

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Disposal Methods
Historical Patterns in Waste Disposal
Sanitary Landfills Site Selection
Pollution from Sanitary Landfills
Source Reduction

adapted to HTML from lecture notes of Prof. Stephen A. Nelson Tulane University

Up until the last 5 to 10 years or so, the major form of solid waste disposal in many places was burying in landfills. Today, we can only use landfills to deposit ash from incineration or debris from construction or demolition processes.

Waste Energy Sites - Incineration sites that use the burning process to produce electricity.

Disposal Methods

-- Brings up the question: Who should do the sorting, the source or the facility?

Historical Patterns in Waste Disposal

Typical Pattern of Trash Disposal

Number of 1986 1991 1994
Landfills 12 9 6
Incinerators 2 5 5
2 - Pilot 15 15
Composting - ? 7
Shipping - 7 ?

Percent of Trash disposed of by 1987 1991 1994 1997
Landfills 80% 25% 3% 0%
Incinerators 6% 39% 47% 46%
Recycling 1% 19% 25% 25%
Shipping 13% 18% 25% 29%

in many places llaw now forbids placing raw garbage into landfills, due to the dangers of groundwater contamination from landfill leeching.

Sanitary Landfills Site Selection

Pollution from Sanitary Landfills

Volatiles (from Anaerobic processes) include:


Modern Landfill with plastic, clay liner and collection pipes to prevent leachate from entering the groundwater. Vadose Wells are situated in the unsaturated zone   to monitor gas emissions. Things do not biodegrade in a landfill. Anaerobic processes are the only ones that take place after the landfill is sealed, and this makes organic decay very slow, as there is no oxygen or moisture tosupport the decomposition process. 


Burns at 1800° F. 

Source Reduction

The following are all methods of initiating source reduction: