A landfill is a site, usually an otherwise vacant lot or a clearing of some kind, where solid waste materials are dropped off to be buried for disposal. For perhaps obvious reasons, they’re rather controversial when it comes to waste management and protecting the environment. Every neighbor may have an opinion about them, but what are the facts? If you want to learn about landfills and their actual impact on the environment, be careful how you do your research. Here are a few important and/or interesting facts about landfills.

Landfills Are the Oldest Form of Waste Management

In ancient history, community waste was taken to a location outside the city gates and thrown into a pit or simply left as a standing pile. It wasn’t the pleasantest smell, so eventually the concept came about to eventually bury the waste. The oldest landfill in the country is the Fresno Municipal Sanitary Landfill in Fresno, California, first begun in 1937.

Approximately One-Third of An Average Landfill is Packing Materials

It’s well known that America has a problem with packaging waste. In 2015, 29,400 tons of packaging waste were deposited in landfills throughout the country. Much of that waste, such as cardboard, paper, and many forms of plastic, can and should be recycled to cut down on landfill waste throughout the country.

Centralia, Pennsylvania’s Infamous Mine Fire Likely Started With a Landfill

Centralia, Pennsylvania is a fascinating ghost town, evacuated in 1983. Today, much of the buildings and signs of any civilization have been buried due to sinkholes. The cause is a massive fire burning in an abandoned coal mine underneath the town. Though there are a few existing theories of what started the mine fire, the most prevalent and most likely explanation is the lighting of the Centralia landfill by request of the Borough Council in 1962. The landfill sat directly on top of the old mine, and when the landfill was burned up to clear the area, the fire reached underground and sparked throughout the coal mines.

Hamilton County, Ohio’s Highest Peak is a Landfill

The Rumpke Sanitary Landfill is often nicknamed “Mount Rumpke” or “Rumpke Mountain,” and there’s a reason for it. This landfill is 1,075 feet above sea level and the highest point in Hamilton County, Ohio. It is so tall, in fact, that it can be seen from U.S. Route 27. Mount Rumpke, however, is only the sixth largest landfill in the United States. The largest is Puente Hills Landfill in Los Angeles County, covering 700 acres.

Less Paper Goes to Landfills in Recent Years

It’s rare to hear good news about landfills, but there is a little bit of hope here. As of 2018, 64.7% of paper used in the United States was recycled, adding up to over 68 million tons of paper recovered and recycled. There’s still a long way to go with our landfill problem, with 3,091 landfills throughout the country, but it’s nice to know that some improvement is happening, and that it can get better as time goes on.

Want to lessen your contribution to landfills? Contact Brazos Valley Trash Valet & Recycling today about signing up for our complimentary recycling service with your trash pickup subscription.