Where Does My Trash Go?

Where Does My Trash Go?

Americans generate approximately 251 million tons of trash each year, earning the U.S. the dubious honor as the top producer of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) worldwide. You may wonder where it all goes and how we have room to dispose of it all. In the old days, your trash went to the municipal dump and was either burned or buried, but that has all changed. Today, most trash begins its cycle in a trashcan or dumpster and may make several stops before reaching its final destination at the landfill. Although procedures vary from community to community, there are a variety of places your trash is likely to go.

Trash Removal Services: Aka – The Garbage Truck

Your trash begins its journey when you toss it in the trashcan or dumpster. It is typically picked up by a garbage truck that compacts it to make more room in the truck for more garbage, of course, and soon heads on its way.  In some locations and with some haulers the first stop is a transfer station.  In other cases the trash is hauled directly to a landfill.

What Happens at the Transfer Station?

A transfer station is a temporary holding area for garbage. Garbage trucks deposit the  trash at the transfer station so that they can pick up more trash from other communities. Trash at the transfer station may be sorted and further compacted before it is sent on its way in larger trucks. Depending on your location, your trash may head directly to a landfill, but many communities have other options for at least some of the trash hauled to the transfer station. If your community requires recycling, your sorted recyclables may be added to large bins for specific recyclables at the transfer station.

Your Trash May Go to a Materials Recovery Facility

Material recovery facilities use a variety of technology to recover useful materials from the debris. They may use magnets, shredders and current separators to sort through the trash. Current separators separate ferrous and non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum, in the debris. This prepares metals for recycling.

Your Trash May Go to a Recycling or Composting Facility

Approximately 35 percent of solid wastes in the U.S. make their way to recycling or composting facilities. Paper, plastic, glass and aluminum are typically recycled to make new products, while agricultural and food wastes are composted for consumer or municipal use.

Material recovery facilities use a variety of technology to recover useful materials from the debris. They may use magnets, shredders and current separators to sort through the trash. Current separators separate ferrous and non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum, in the debris. This prepares metals for recycling.

Your Trash May Go to a Waste-to-Energy Plant

A waste-to-energy plant is the politically correct term for trash incinerators. These plants burn municipal wastes, reducing them to ashes. They diminish the volume of solid wastes by an amazing 95 percent, reducing the space needed in landfills. The heat produced by incinerating trash can be used to generate heat and electricity.

Final Destination: The Landfill

A little more than half of the nation’s waste ends up in a landfill. A landfill is a big  pit, called an open cell, dug in the soil and lined with clay and flexible plastic to prevent chemicals from the trash from leaching into the nearby soil. Trash is deposited into the open cell and then is compacted again via large compactors driven over the trash to compact the material and remove air. Pipes and drains are added over layers of trash to capture gases and fluids made from the decomposing trash. When the open cell is filled, it is covered with protective material and may have grass and plants planted atop the pile. Landfills look like large hills, typically covered in grass. Trash in landfills will eventually breakdown, but it will take many years.

Debris Box provides dumpster rentals for waste hauling and removal and can be an excellent solution for getting rid of trash from home projects or renovations. Contact us today to discuss our services and find out how we can make your life more manageable.

 

 

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