What is landfill? Landfill is the oldest form of waste disposable and comprised of essentially everything we throw away in our lifetime. Australia creates over 76 million tonnes of waste that goes into landfill each year and is made up of masonry materials (22 million tonnes), metals (6.6 million tonnes), organics (15.3 million tonnes), paper (5.9 million tonnes), plastics (2.5 million tonnes), glass (1.2 million tonnes), textiles (0.8 million tonnes), hazardous waste (8 million tonnes) and ash from coal-fired power stations (12.5 million tonnes).
Why is landfill bad for the environment?
The short answer is gases. Landfill creates dangerous gases that contribute drastically to climate change.
The long answer is after the waste has been stockpiled, it is then compacted and buried in the ground. When the waste is buried, it is no longer exposed to oxygen that creates dangerous gases like Methane and Carbon Dioxide.
Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas that helps trap heat within the ozone layer. When Carbon Dioxide levels rise, we see a significant effect on our environment. This leads to the heating of the Earth or what we know as climate change.
Methane is dangerous and toxic, but it does serve as an energy source and is used to fuel a lot of Australian homes. It is however not a sustainable option as it contributes greatly to climate change by trapping heat in the ozone layer.
While Methane and Cardon Dioxide are naturally occurring and can be used in positive ways, the levels that are being produced by landfill and the agricultural industry for example, can negatively affect our environment in a very dangerous way.
As well as Methane and carbon dioxide, landfill also causes dangerous chemicals and gases to leak from electronic and mechanical waste that causes toxins to leak into our water systems and soil which has long lasting health and environmental impacts.
What can we do to help?
The answer is simple, try your best to create less waste!
Be mindful of what we consume, donate and upcycle clothes, minimise or eliminate unnecessary waste in the home by using zero waste or sustainable products, start a compost bin and a veggie garden! Use Rosella Street to start your journey toward sustainability and creating less waste. We can help you sell what you no longer need so it won’t end up in landfill!