Exploring the Parts of a Landfill

Landfills are an important part of waste management. Yet, many people think a landfill is nothing more than a hole in the ground where waste is thrown. In reality, there are very specific parts involved with landfills, all of which work together to prevent contamination between the waste and the surrounding environment. Here is a look at the parts that can be found in a landfill.

The Bottom Liner

The bottom liner is the part of the landfill that separates and prevents the buried waste from coming in contact with the underlying soils and groundwater. This layer is typically constructed from a durable, puncture-resistant synthetic plastic HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) that ranges from 30 to 100 mils thick.

Cells

Every landfill also features cells, which range in size from a few acres to 20 acres or more depending upon the amount of waste the landfill receives each day. The larger cells contain smaller cells that are known as the daily workface. This is where the incoming waste is prepared each day. The waste is placed in layers or lifts where it is then compacted and shredded by heavy landfill compaction machinery.

Leachate Collection System

The bottom portion of the landfill is generally sloped to a low point to draw down the liquids that are trapped inside the landfill. This waste, which is known as leachate, is collected and removed from the landfill. This is typically accomplished with the help of a series of perforated pipes, gravel packs and a layer of sand or gravel that is placed at the bottom of the landfill. The leachate is typically pumped or gravity-flowed to a holding tank or pond where it is then either hauled off site or treated on site.

Storm Water Drainage

The storm water drainage portion of the landfill is an engineered system that is designed to control water runoff when it rains. This is accomplished by directing the runoff through a series of ditches or berns into holding areas. Referred to as sed ponds, these holding areas slow down the water long enough to along suspended soil particles to settle before the water is discharged.

Methane Collection System

As the bacteria breaks down the trash in the landfill, it produces gas. Approximately 50 percent of this gas is methane, which has the potential to burn or explode. Therefore, it is removed through a series of pipes that are embedded in the landfill and specifically designed to collect methane gas. Once the gas is collected, it is either naturally vented or control-burned.

Cover

The cover, or cap, is compacted soil or some alternative material that is placed over the waste in a cell each day. The cover is generally six inches thick, though it may be 12 to 18 inches thick if it is placed over waste where no additional waste or cover will be placed for a period of time. Covering the waste in this way isolates  the waste from exposure to the air and pests while also helping to control odors.

What You Need to Know About Recycling Plastic

When it comes to recycling plastics, you may be wondering why some plastics can be recycled and others cannot. The reality is that even some containers containing the recycling symbol on the bottom will not actually be recycled, despite the fact that they are technically recyclable. This is because that symbol is actually a resin identification code, which is used to help sort the different types of plastics. If there is no demand for that particular type of plastic, however, it is not likely to be recycled. In fact, there are a variety of reasons why some plastic items may not be eligible for recycling. Here are some of the reasons why some containers will be recycled while other will not.

Considering the Demand

Most Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) sort plastic containers according to the identification code. This is done to ensure the items are placed in the proper bin with other containers with the same resin. In short, the first thing that is used to determine whether or not the container will be recycled is the type of resin that it is made from. The shape of the container is also considered when determining recyclability. This is because both of these factors affect whether or not there is a market demand for that particular product. If there is no demand for that particular type of recycled product, it will be disposed of in another way.

Preparing Recyclable Goods

Once the plastics have been sorted, the MRF bales the materials to sell. The MRF can command a higher price for the bales depending upon the quality of the product. “Quality” is determined by the purity. In other words, the more consistently it contains only one kind of resin, the more valuable it is. This means the MRF wants to take whatever steps necessary to ensure there is as little contamination in the product as possible. At the same time, they want to invest as little time as possible in the actual process of sorting the plactics. Since the products are typically hand sorted and because the MRF wants to use its employees and time as efficiently as possible, certain products may be tossed without a great deal of inspection to determine the identification code.

Water bottles and clear narrow-neck bottles used for soda are almost always made from PETE, which is the most commonly requested plactic material, so those items are likely to be kept and baled. Most MRFs will not keep odd-shaped containers, such as those that hold spinach and mixed greens, because there are many similarly-shaped products that are not made from PETE and inspecting each of these containers is too time consuming.

Since the ultimate recyclability of plastics is based on market demand for recycled products made from that particular type of plastic, you can help increase the amount of plastic this is recycled by purchasing products made from recycled plastics. The greater the demand for a wider variety of recycled plastic products, the more incentive MRFs have to invest in more effective sorting equipment and to bale all types of plastics.

6 Tips for Reducing Your Waste

Reducing your waste is not only a good way to help save money in terms of waste removal, but it is also a great way to help reduce your impact on the environment. While it may not be possible to completely eliminate the amount of waste that you produce, there are a few steps that you can take to help reduce your waste. Here are a few tips for cutting back on waste without causing a great deal of inconvenience.

Tip #1: Use Reusable Bags

Taking reusable bags with you when you go shopping is a great way to reduce the number of plastic and paper bags that you use. Reusable bags and containers are also a good option when packing lunches, storing leftovers or when packing items for travel.

Tip #2: Avoid Individually Wrapped Items

When purchasing products, avoid buying those that are individually wrapped or that come in single-serve containers or snack packs. Buying items in large containers or from bulk bins will help to reduce the amount of waste you produce. When purchasing in bulk, however, look out for double-packaging in which bulk items still contain individually wrapped items.

Tip #3: Choose Returnable, Reusable and Refillable Products

Purchasing products that are returnable, reusable or refillable allows you to either use the container over and over again or return it for recycling or reuse. Whenever possible, choose these products over single-use items. You can further reduce your waste by purchasing products that are made from recycled goods or buy purchasing clothing and other items from second-hand stores. Reusing items reduces the amount of waste by reducing the need to manufacture new products. Similarly, purchasing quality products that do not need to be replaced right away can also help to reduce waste.

Tip #4: Purchase Concentrated Products

Purchasing dish soap and laundry detergents in their concentrated forms helps to increase the life of those products, thereby decreasing your need to purchase more products and create waste. Often, purchasing the concentrated forms can also help you save money by significantly decreasing the amount of the product that you need to use each time.

Tip #5: Compost Food Scraps and Yard Waste

Some studies have found that approximately 11 percent of garbage is food and yard waste.  Therefore, you can further reduce waste by composting your food scraps and yard waste. Fruit and vegetable waste, egg shells, coffee grounds and other food scraps can be added to a compost bin along with leaves and yard trimmings.

Tip #6: Find New Uses for Waste Products

Finding new ways to use waste products can also reduce your overall waste. For example, the clean side of unneeded print paper can be used to make a scratch pad. When using a notebook, use both sides of the paper whenever possible. Some items, such as spaghetti sauce jars, old bottles and even keys that you no longer need for arts and crafts projects can also help reduce your waste.

5 Simple Recycling Tips

If you want to do your part to help protect the Earth, one of the easiest ways to accomplish this goal is to actively recycle items that can be recycled. To get the most out of your recycling, however, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. In some cases, this involves thinking outside of the box and looking for items to recycle that are not typically included in the recycling conversation.

Know What Can Be Recycled

Oftentimes, people place items in the recycling that cannot actually be recycled. As a result, those items and possibly even additional items may find their way to the landfill when there might have been other options. Before you put out your recycling, check with the recycling rules for your area and become familiar with your town or city’s specifics.

Choose the Right Programs

Some recycling programs create more waste than they prevent. For instance, if items are collected and then shipped across the country for recycling, you may be creating more pollution with carbon emissions than you are saving through recycling. Look into programs to make sure they are genuinely beneficial rather than simply making you feel good about recycling.

Recycle Water

Most people know about recycling paper, plastics and aluminum, but many don’t consider how they might be able to recycle their water. Rearranging your plumbing so that wastewater from your shower and tub is used to flush your toilet, for example, can help you get more use out of your water. If you use a biodegradable soap, you can even use leftover bathwater and dishwashing water to water your garden.

Recycle Gadgets

Many electronic gadgets can also be recycled, with many non-profit organizations collecting items such as computer parts and transforming them back into workable computers. Other companies help unwanted electronics find new homes by giving them to those in need. Major appliances that need repairs may also serve as a good donation to trade schools, repair shops or even hobbyists who might want to tinker with the item. Batteries can also be recycled, though the better option is to use rechargeable batteries in order to reduce the number of batteries that you need to toss away.

Give Away Unwanted Items

If you have clothes or other items that are still in good shape that you simply don’t need or want anymore, consider giving them away to charity or posting them on sites such as Freecycle and Recycler’s Exchange. Another option is to post the items in the “free stuff” section of Craigslist. Not only will this prevent the creation of additional waste, but you will also be recycling the item by helping it to find another home.

Of course, the best way to reduce waste is to make wise purchases. Purchasing items with minimal packaging will help to reduce your waste. On the other hand, purchasing items that are made with recyclable materials helps to ensure you will be able to recycle the packaging after you have opened the product. Thinking ahead when making purchases is a good way to reduce your overall impact on the planet.

7 Reasons Why You Should Recycle

Separating your recyclable materials may sometimes feel like a time-consuming burden. You may even wonder at times if the extra effort is worthwhile and if you are really making any kind of difference when you sort your plastics or peel labels from your bottles. The reality is that recycling really does have a significant impact on the earth. In addition, it also has a positive impact on the economy as well as other aspects of your life that you may not have considered. In fact, here are some interesting facts to back up the importance of recycling.

Helping Businesses

Many companies in the United States rely upon recycling programs to help them obtain the raw materials they need to make new products. Not only does this help to keep these materials out of landfills, but it also helps these businesses keep their costs down while producing products for consumers. This, in turn, helps the economy by keeping the cost of products down while also providing workers with jobs.

Creating Jobs

In addition to the jobs that are created by businesses and supported by recycling, the recycling industry itself provides numerous jobs throughout the country. As a $236 billion per year industry, the recycling industry employs 1.1 million workers in more than 56,000 recycling and reuse enterprises.

Reducing Energy Waste

Producing products from recycled goods helps to reduce energy waste. This is because producing a product from scratch requires the use of a greater amount of energy than producing a product from recyclable materials. Manufacturing with recycled aluminum cans, for example, uses 95% less energy than starting over with virgin materials.

Preserving Natural Resources

Natural resources are also saved when manufacturers use recyclable material instead of creating the materials from scratch.

Conserving Land

No one wants to live next to a landfill, which means the land used for the landfill as well as the surrounding property is essentially lost to waste. By reducing the amount of waste that makes it to landfills, we can better maintain the natural beauty of an area or the land can be put to better use, such as building housing or recreational facilities.

Preventing Global Warming

According to experts, recycling solid waste in the year 2000 helped to prevent the release of 32.9 million metric tons of carbon equivalent into the air. This, in turn, helps to prevent and slow down the process of global warming.

Reducing Pollution and Protecting Wildlife

Manufacturing good from recycled materials generates less water pollution than manufacturing the same products from virgin materials. Similarly, using recycled materials reduces the need to damage forests, rivers and wetlands in order to obtain virgin materials, thereby protecting the ecosystems that are essential to wildlife.

Shockingly, the average America discards seven and a half pounds of garbage every day. Most of this garbage ends up in landfills where it is compacted and buried. With the help of recycling programs, you can significantly reduce the amount of waste that you contribute to these landfills. In addition, you can feel good about knowing that you are helping to protect the environment while also supporting employment throughout the country.

Tips for Composting in the Winter

Composting is a great way to reduce waste while also creating organic manner that creates healthy gardens and lawns. For many people throughout the country, however, composting in the wintertime can be difficult. After all, composting relies upon aerobic bacteria to break down the waste and warmer temperatures are needed to stimulate this bacteria. In other words, warmer temperatures result in faster decomposition. Nonetheless, even when the temperatures drop, you can still manage to get rid of certain types of waste with the help of a compost pile. To help make this happen, consider the following strategies.

Build a Block Structure

Building a block structure around your compost pile can help maintain the internal heat of your pile long into the winter. Simply stacking cinder blocks around your pile is an easy solution.

Add a Roof

Another way to better control external environmental factors is to protect your compost pile with a roof. This is particularly helpful during the winter months because it helps to keep the snow from forming a layer over your pile.

Use a Tarp

If you don’t have the money or inclination to build a roof over your compost pile, another option is to simply place a tarp over the pile. In addition to helping to keep snow and other unwanted precipitation off of your compost pile, this will also help to contain the internal heat within the pile rather than allowing it to escape into the air.

Expand the Size of the Pile

To help prepare your compost pile for the winter, you should start building the size of your pile during the fall months. A larger compost pile is better capable of continuing the composting process into the winter months. A simple way to increase the size of your compost pile is to add leafs to the pile rather than burning them or packing them up for disposal.

Break the Materials Down

Shredding your material to pieces that are less than two inches in size before adding them to the compost pile helps the pile to heat more uniformly. It also helps to better insulate the pile from outside temperature extremes.

Bury It

Digging a hole and burying your compost, a process known as compost-holing, can help fend off the cold winter temperatures. For compost-holing, you should dig a one foot hole anywhere in your yard and cover it with a board or bricks until it is filled with organic waste. Another option is to dig a trench around your garden or flowerbed and add your compost material to the trench, making sure to bury the waste each time you add more to the trench.

Use a Holding Unit

Instead of having a compost pile, another option is to use a holding unit. Not only are holding units a more attractive option, but they also protect your compost from external factors while helping your compost stay warmer in the winter. During the warmer months, many of these holding units can be easily spun in order to turn your compost and further assist with the decomposition process.

BearSaver Animal Proof HB Hid-A-Bags

HID-A-BAG

The always-popular Hid-A-Bag models offered by BearSaver are versatile, attractive and easy to use. The sixty-degree angled housing is eye-catching but unobtrusive. Serviced by opening the back, the tilt-out bag rack provides a rigid frame from which plastic bags are suspended. When the bag is full and heavy, it can be removed laterally to help avoid back injuries.

All HID-A-BAG models now have easy-to-use side-opening service doors.

Reduce Food Waste With In-Sink Disposals

Food Waste

Americans waste up to 50 percent more food than U.S. consumers did in the 1970s, according to National Institutes of Health. And the government last year declared its first ever, national food waste reduction goals.

Now food waste — and trash in general — are getting to be such big problems that pockets of many U.S. cities are having a difficult time managing rubbish on trash days. The garbage, in turn, takes more money and energy to transport to landfill space that’s also limited.

This all partly explains why some U.S. cities have been trying out in-sink, electric garbage disposals as a way to reduce trash and transform food scraps into renewable sources of energy.

In the high-density Point Breeze neighborhood of south Philadelphia, for example, streets are tight. “There’s very little place to store trash,” said Carlton Williams, a Philadelphia city official, reports CNBC. He made the comments in a video for the city.

After a two-year-plus pilot program between Philadelphia and InSinkErator, a business unit of Emerson, the city now requires in-sink food waste disposers in new residential construction. The regulation went into effect earlier this year. It was signed into law in late 2015.

“It’s counterintuitive that using a disposer somehow is good for the environment,” Michael Keleman, an environmental engineer for Emerson, tells CNBC. And yes, using garbage disposers require water and electricity.

At the time of Philadelphia’s pilot program launch with Emerson, then Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said he never thought he’d be holding a news conference on garbage disposers.

But food waste and the environment are changing, as waste volumes only rise.

“Diversion of organics from landfills can reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Keleman.

The idea behind the Philadelphia initiative is to divert as much organic food waste into reusable energy.

In-sink disposers convert food scraps into fine particles. The slurry passes through plumbing and a process called anaerobic digestion that transforms the waste. One of the end products is biogas, which can be used to generate electricity and heat.

Nearly every consumer has a tale of a clogged disposer or plumbing gone bad. But Keleman of Emerson argues proper use can prevent a lot of problems. And diverting food waste means less trash.

Participants during Philadelphia’s pilot phase said while using the garbage disposer, they put out roughly one less trash bag per week. And less food waste also means fewer rodents and critters.

With widespread use of food disposers, the city could potentially reduce food waste by around 19,000 tons annually, and save about $1.1 million in waste disposal and other costs.

U.S. food loss and waste accounts for about 31 percent of the overall food supply available to retailers and consumers, with far-reaching effects on food security and climate change, according to the USDA.

That’s why scientists and researchers are seeking waste reduction, including technology-based solutions to transform food and agricultural waste into converted energy. The goal is feeding people, not landfills.

If you have a garbage disposal, try to use it more often. And remember, for all of your trash-disposal needs in your office, stadium, or school, Securr Trash Cans has the best selection around.

Keep Animals Safe Through Proper Trash Disposal

trash

You are probably well aware that proper disposal of trash and recycling is important for human beings and our environment, but as you move through your days, don’t forget about the impact that litter can have on wildlife.

Everyday items such as soda cans and plastic bottles can be deadly for unsuspecting wildlife and even dogs and cats. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Here are some simple tricks that you can do to help prevent animals from suffering:

Don’t feed the bears!: The “garbage-killed bear” is more than a cute turn of phrase. Rather it’s an accurate description of a tragedy that plays itself out more and more frequently as people move into bear country and bears learn that people carry tasty – if not very nutritious – food. Once a bear becomes conditioned to human food it’s too late to help. A so-called “problem bear” can’t be fixed; it must be prevented. And the only way to prevent it is for every single individual visiting a national park and nearby areas to be scrupulously stingy about letting bears have any human food. Bear-proof trash cans offered by Securr Trash Cans work well to keep bears out of garbage. They help protect bears from their taste for unhealthy snacks. Stashing your trash in these containers can save a bear’s life.

Soda rings: Six-packs of soda often come strung together by plastic rings, and too often curious animals get their heads stuck inside, causing injury or even death. Cut apart all sections of plastic six-pack rings, including the inner diamonds.

Fishing lines and hooks: Birds frequently get their beaks wrapped or wings tangled up in discarded fishing line. Hooks can be swallowed or become embedded in birds’ skin or beaks. If you spot fishing litter, pick it up and dispose of it.

Beer and soda cans: Even the tiniest animals can fall victim to litter. Discarded soda cans are tempting to small animals who are looking for food or shade. Luckily, this little skink was freed during a beach clean-up. Animals can also be cut by cans’ sharp edges. Be sure to dispose of your cans responsibly. Rinse and crush cans before tossing them into the recycling bin. You can also fold the tab back to block off the hole on the top.

Chewing gum: Animals often step in gum, which can become matted in their fur or feathers, making it difficult for them to move. Never spit gum onto the ground. Wrap it in paper and dispose of it in a proper receptacle.

Tin cans, cups, and jars: Hungry animals desperate for even just a few crumbs often get their heads stuck in discarded cans, cups, and jars. Always rinse out containers (and place the lids back on them!) and crush metal cans before disposing of them.

Plastic bottles and bags: Whales, turtles, and seabirds often mistake trash for food, and if eaten, it can choke them or cause fatal stomach or bowel obstructions. When shopping, choose paper bags or take your own reusable bags whenever possible.

Remember: Never, ever litter. Animals of all kinds often mistake trash for food or shelter. Securely cover garbage cans and recycle bins so that animals can’t get into them and become trapped inside. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for other people’s trash, too. Your actions could be the difference between life and death for an animal.

 

Minimize Your Impact on the Great Outdoors This Summer

camping family

When you’re at home or at work, Securr has all of your trash can needs. But when you’re away this summer, camping or hiking, use these tips to help minimize your impact on the great outdoors.

When you’re packing for your trip, make sure you eliminate any unnecessary food packaging. Say you’re bringing a cup of just-add-water noodles, but the cup comes with a cardboard box around it. Leave the box at home. Better yet, dump the contents of the bowl into a reusable, sealed mug that you can use again for your morning coffee.

You may still have to bring some packaging, so it’s a good idea to bring a trash bag with you. It doesn’t have to be heavy-duty — it could even just be a grocery sack. Place any food-related trash in the bag to make sure your gear doesn’t become messy or attract animals.

Be sure to hang your food at night or use a bear canister so unwanted guests don’t start digging through it. When you’re done with your bag, toss it in a designated trash can or dumpster.

When it’s time to wash dishes, scrape uneaten food into your trash bag, then find a place well away from water sources and campsites to do the washing. You may wish to use a portable kitchen sink to conserve water, but definitely use biodegradable soap; here’s my favorite. Quick-drying and reusable camp towels will help ready your pots and plates for the next meal.

There are some items you may take camping that come in packages, like batteries and new gear. My advice is the same as before: leave all unnecessary packaging at home. Should you actually need to bring it, it won’t have to go in the food trash bag, but you should never litter. Always throw away trash in designated areas.

It’s a good idea to keep your personal hygiene standards up to par, especially when it comes to your teeth. You don’t want to leave globs of sweet-smelling toothpaste in the woods, however, so you can either spit into your trash bag or try to disperse the toothpaste as much as possible.

Bury human waste in catholes about 6-8″ deep 200 feet from any water sources, campsites, or trails. It is good to carry out used toilet paper since animals often dig it up and spread it all over. Carry out all plastic or cotton feminine hygiene products. Do not bury them.

As a campsite becomes more and more popular, small impacts quickly accumulate. Some people see garbage and then feel they do not need to take care since it’s already trashed. Taking a bit of extra time to clean up a spot will help keep it cleaner. The next visitors will see no trash and tend to pack out their own trash. Even highly trafficked sites can be made more inviting by removing trash and cleaning out old fire debris.

Taking the extra bit of effort to patrol the campsite just before leaving often finds bits of foil, plastic, and food from your group or others before you. No matter where you go, if people have been there, people have left litter. Whether on the ocean shore or on the highest peak in the world, when it is more convenient to leave trash than take it away, someone will decide to leave it.

Then, bring it all home, and dispose of it properly using your Securr trash cans.