From Curb to the Landfill
Whether you set bags out individually at the curb or in a trash can, have you ever wondered where it goes once picked up and tossed into those neat-looking garbage trucks? There is an interesting path that most of our trash takes. And step one, naturally, is a local collection by the trucks that drive through your neighborhood every week.
Once these garbage trucks are full they will transport your garbage bags, which have already been compacted by the truck’s compressor, to the waste collection facility at the local landfill. The first stop once it gets there is the scale house, or your area equivalent to one. Every load of garbage gets weighed and recorded to track how much is being dumped day after day and how much space is used up from the available landfall area.
Some trash gets ground and compacted even more once it arrives to help save even more space. Because the garbage is crushed and compacted, little to no air and light get down in the inner layers of trash. This means decomposition is extremely slow, and some materials are not even biodegradable at all. Something that would decompose in weeks or months normally can take years in a landfill. And things like plastic bags, water bottles, and Styrofoam containers can take hundreds of years or longer to decompose.
This is why it is so important to begin doing things now to reduce waste and shift to more sustainable options.
Understanding the Journey for Recycling
When materials are recyclable, if they are not properly sorted and pulled out from regular trash, they cannot be recycled and end up in the landfill along with everything else. This is because only certain materials can be recycled, and only certain types of those materials are widely recyclable. If Styrofoam, for example, is mixed in with recyclable plastics, they either have to be removed by hand, or that load will just be dumped. And unfortunately, it is cheaper to dump than to pay to have it sorted.
When the material does get sorted and can be recycled, it is then sent to different facilities to be further prepared. Some materials are ground up and broken down further to make them easier to process back into the raw materials. Some recycling can be done at local or state-run locations. But believe it or not, the bulk of recycling from US trash is done overseas in China and other countries. Until the US can streamline the process and get more people on board with it, recycling will remain a cumbersome and multi-step task that is not always cost-efficient compared to regular trash dumping practices.
Progress is being made, and more and more people are realizing the impact they can have on the environment. Small steps and tiny changes day by day can add up and have a huge impact over time. To learn more about what you can do and how Debris Box can help, contact us today for more information about the services that we have to offer!