- About Us
- Ways To Give
- Our Programs
- The COPD Crisis
Where does trash go after you throw it away? What is a landfill?
O24u Facilitators' Guide Module 5: Reduce, Recycle and Reuse
Where does trash go after you throw it away?
Have you ever thought about where your homework paper goes when you are finished with the assignment? Do you simply throw that paper away? Did you recycle it? What happens to the millions and millions of tons of waste thrown out by people every day?
Your trash is picked up by a collection truck and taken to either a landfill or a waste-to-energy incinerator.
In the United States,
- 26 percent of the waste generated is recycled
- 8 percent is burned in an incinerator
- The remaining 66 percent is disposed of in landfills
What is a landfill?
A landfill isn’t just a pile of trash buried in the ground. Landfills are carefully designed to prevent waste from mixing with groundwater and to reduce odors. Most landfills have a thick plastic liner between the ground and the trash, and a layer of soil is added every day to cover up the trash on top.
Some types of trash are dangerous and need to be disposed of in special ways, such as:
- Pool chemicals
- Cleaning chemicals
- Fluorescent lamps
- Mercury thermometers
- Electronic equipment
This sort of trash can contaminate our lands, water and air if they are placed in the regular trash or worse yet, poured down the drain or dumped outside.