What's in a landfill?

Have you ever wondered what happens to the all that trash at landfills? It's not simply a dump or a huge hole in the ground to bury garbage; there is actually a science to this trash stuff.

According to the SC Department of Health & Environmental Control (SCDHEC), South Carolina has 23 Class 3 landfills or municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. What is a Class 3 landfill? A Class 3 landfill is a scientifically engineered facility designed to hold and isolate waste from the environment. This type of landfill collects household garbage and is regulated by state and local governments.

However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a minimum criteria that these landfills must meet. Some materials may be banned from disposal in municipal solid waste landfills. Items such as paints, cleaners, chemicals, motor oil, batteries, and pesticides are some of the common items that are banned from MSW's. Nonetheless, some household appliances can be turned into MSW's for disposal.

The EPA has classified the different types of landfills:

The diagram shows the elaborate system of how a current landfill is built from the laying of the bottom liners, collecting of liquids, to the capping when it's full.

Elaborate system of how current landfills are built from the bottom liners, collecting liquids, to capping when it's full

It's Up2U to make a difference – reduce how much trash ends up in our landfills. Here's how you can take action: