Recycling and landfills – A brief overview

incineration
When it comes to waste management processes, there are three different processes that are used.

These are incineration, recycling or the dumping of waste in to a landfill.

All three of these processes are used on a frequent basis across the globe, and the effect of all three on the environment is different. Understanding the difference between these three processes is important for people so that they at least know where their waste is being thrown.

Most people believe that the waste they throw is dumped in to the sea and oceans, and even though part of it is true, the harmful effects of dumping waste in to the ocean means it is an illegal activity and is certainly not recognized by the government.

Governments usually set up different processes for the treatment of wastage, so that the harmful effects on the environment can be lessened to as little a degree as possible. Here is a brief idea about recycling against landfills and incineration.

Recycling

Recycling accounted for just 10 percent of the total waste that was thrown in to the earth in the 1980’s but this number rose sharply within two decades and by 2010, around 34 percent of the total waste of this planet was being recycled in order to make something more productive and useful.

The effects of recycling cannot be ignored, because they are largely favorable for the environment. There are basically three different types of recycling processes that are used: paper recycling, mineral recycling as well as e- waste recycling. All of the waste you throw away is classified in to these categories and is then recycled appropriately.

Paper recycling, as you might know, is the recycling of paper. Recycling paper is important because it helps the earth combat the constant deforestation. In the 1980’s, the effects of deforestation were at their peak as large forests were cut down for the wood to be utilized in the making of paper and other resources, and with time, people realized how crucial forests are for the existence of life on this planet.

Therefore, serious measures were taken in order to initiate re- plantation and to make sure that paper was recycled. All the waste you throw is assorted in to three different categories, with paper being one of them. Paper recycling has really hit it off, and a lot of used paper is now recycled effectively to limit the cutting of trees.

Mineral waste is the waste that we throw away which can be broken down to its constituent minerals and be used again. There are a number of high tech machines located in recycling plants which are able to break down fully processed items and then via the help of chemical processes, the minerals can be extracted.

Mineral recycling is extremely crucial, because basically, the extraction of minerals has reached new heights on planet earth and people fail to realize that minerals are a non- renewable resource. Once these resources get used up completely, it will be very difficult for mankind to be able to sustain itself, which is why the recycling of mineral waste is such a high priority.

The third and the largest recycling is that of e- waste material. Every single Mobil phone, appliances, torches batteries, screens or virtually anything that is powered by electricity is regarded as e- waste. Whenever you through an electronic item down the garbage chute, it is assorted in to the e- waste category. E- waste is treated separately cannot be compared to mineral waste or paper recycling, mainly because the processes involved are completely different.

The recycling of e- waste is important because a lot of different materials are used in the manufacture of this type of waste, and it becomes tremendously important for people to make sure that they are disposing off their garbage in the right manner. Recycle bins are located throughout the globe, and they have a logo of three arrows pointing at each other in a triangular position.

Landfills

Landfills, on the other hand, are completely different. In a landfill, waste is simple deposited in to a dug up area in the ground, and then a covering is placed on top of it in order to prevent the smell or the liquids from pouring it, if any.

The concept of landfills is a lot simpler than recycling, because waste is just dumped in to a large area in the ground. However, landfills are regulated by the federal government, which keeps track of all the waste that is thrown, and also runs regular checks in order to make sure that the waste within the landfill is not leaking in to the nearby surroundings.

Most people believe that the land used for the culmination of landfills is quickly running about, but that is not the truth. In fact, the land used for landfills is increasing steadily as more empty area is being taken under purview. Even if landfill operators stop looking at new land and capitalize on their current capacity, it will be 40 years before the land will run out.

Moreover, a lot of people also believe that landfills are polluting. According to Gainesville Dumpster Rental Center, even though waste is dumped into the ground, 2 feet of solid clay soil is plastered on all sides of the landfill in order to make sure that the waste does not seep in to the surrounding area.

Moreover, regular ground water samples are taken by scientists and evaluated in order to make sure that the land is kept free of any waste content. On the top of the landfill, a proper flexible membrane is put over, as well as another layer of land so as to make sure that no liquids tend to flow out of the landfill.

Basically, landfills are much cheaper as compared to recycling, mainly because very little money is required in creating and setting up a landfill, rather than carrying out a myriad of different processes in order to recycle something that has been thoroughly used.

The risks generated by waste collection


The risks generated by waste collection and sorting activities are numerous.

The tonnage of waste to be treated is constantly increasing; as a result, the workforce in this sector is growing correspondingly and the industrial accidents affecting these trades too: risks linked to the dangerousness of the waste (biological and chemical), to the vehicles used for collection and transport (handling, road risk), to sorting procedures implemented (manual operations, exposure to noise, gases and dust, etc.).

Prevention must be implemented and adapted to specialized channels depending on the type of waste (household, industrial, medical, etc.) and the nature of the work to be carried out (collect, sort, etc.).

The main risks of waste collection and sorting

Some risks are common to all waste management professions, with more or less dangerousness depending on the type of operation and waste. In this regard, a fundamental element of prevention is as complete information as possible on the nature, composition and dangerousness of the waste to all the actors concerned.

  • Physical risks: bruises, falls, cuts, musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) linked to repetitive and rapid handling or gestures, vibrations, etc.
  • Biological risks: contamination by skin wounds and bites due to exposure to microorganisms, inhalation of dust and infectious or allergenic agents. (Table 45 GR of Occupational Diseases: Infections of occupational origin with hepatitis viruses)
  • Chemical risks: skin contact with corrosive, irritant, toxic, carcinogenic products, treatments that can generate exposure to gases and dust
  • Noise risks linked to sorting machines: vibrating tables, conveyors, screens, compressors, balers, motors for feeding the sorting chain …
  • Household waste and inert or ordinary industrial waste (DIB) obviously involve less biological or chemical risks than special industrial waste (DIS) including radioactive waste, healthcare waste, laboratory and chemical industry waste which contains elements dangerous and must undergo specific routing and disposal.

For the garbage collectors employed with the collection of refuse, the contusions with the lower limbs and shocks with a moving vehicle are particularly frequent, as well as the falls while going up or down vehicles and refuse trucks. The constant handling of heavy and bulky loads (trash cans or plastic bags) leads to severe postural constraints.

In sorting centers, if the loads lifted are much lower, the rates are very high; these manual handling are sources of MSD (body rotation…) and of visual and mental fatigue (thankless tasks). Manual sorting involves two major risks: muscle damage linked to handling and contamination by cuts and stings.

Risk prevention measures for waste collection and sorting

The prevention measures will vary and must be adapted to the type of work and waste, the organization (just-in-time work, “finished-part” practice, etc.) or the procedures used. In all cases, an a priori risk assessment is essential and compulsory in the single safety document, updated at least annually as well as during any major planning decision modifying health and safety conditions or working conditions (new installation, new process or new organization).

Waste management and the prevention of induced risks impose obligations on its producer / holder, the non-compliance of which can lead to serious civil and criminal sanctions. Its responsibility is engaged in the event of industrial accidents, pollution or even the risk of pollution.

The waste producer must establish and make available information on the composition of the waste and must verify that:

  • Abduction: the collector to whom he calls declared his activity in the prefecture.
  • Treatment: takes place in facilities classified for the environment.
  • Traceability: the waste tracking register is kept up to date and a monitoring slip is drawn up. For waste identified as hazardous, it is one of the elements to be supplied and which will follow the waste throughout its elimination or treatment circuit (BSD).

Prevention of waste collection risks

According to Jacksonville dumpsters and other waste management specialists in Floria and the USA, waste collection and transport are activities that require special qualifications and specializations, in order to guarantee the safety and quality of waste transport. Professionals must be trained, qualified and have adequate personal protective equipment. Vehicles (dumpsters with household waste…) must be authorized and well maintained. A judicious organization of tour plans also makes it possible to significantly limit the risks.

Collection vehicles ensuring the safety of personnel: CE declaration, rear view mirror, start signal and reversing audible warning, vehicle signaling (rotating beacons, service lights, clearance lights), non-slip handles and steps, transparent casings and cheeks to protect agents of moving parts and projections, daily cleaning, pollution control and mechanical safety (brakes, shredders, compaction system), verification of the proper functioning of emergency stops, of the rear door locking device, etc.

Ergonomic containers, emptied and cleaned frequently: replace trash cans and bags with closed wheeled containers (individual or collective bins), collect refuse as often as possible to avoid the multiplication of microorganisms in the containers, keep the containers in good condition (bearings) and placed on a stable platform for groups to facilitate handling.

Route plans and safe behaviors: eliminate the need for reverse gear by setting up U-turn zones if necessary, use the side lift controls on the sidewalk (bilateral collections involve crossing dangerous roads), no alcoholic beverages, no practice “on the leave” or “finished party” consisting in leaving the service as soon as the tour is finished, which causes accidents by increasing rates and precipitation.

Obligatory personal protective equipment, standardized and worn throughout the tour: clothing adapted to the season and climatic conditions for outdoor work, safety shoes with non-slip soles, handling gloves, high visibility signaling clothing of class 2 or 3 in accordance with the specifications of standard NF EN 471, glasses.

Work hygiene premises: changing rooms with sanitary facilities and showers, individual double-compartment cupboards for storing personal clothes and work clothes. In addition, staff must have a supply of water, a disinfectant, paper towels and an emergency kit in the dumpsters.

Training or information: safety on public roads, PRAP (Prevention of Risks linked to Physical Activity), information on the risks of biological agents and on body and hand hygiene.

Reinforced medical surveillance must be put in place for waste collection staff, with recommended vaccination DTPolio, hepatitis A and B (in particular for hospital waste) and leptospirosis.

Prevention of waste sorting risks

Ergonomics and work organization: sorting operations on a conveyor belt and throwing them into a bin, involve very many rapid and repetitive gestures with body rotation and lateral movement: the ergonomics of the installations are essential to reduce the arduous nature of the work (for example, bringing the grip closer to avoid a leaning posture) and preventing the onset of musculoskeletal disorders, as well as accessories such as “sit-stand” seats and anti-fatigue mats. The establishment of a worker rotation system that takes into account the direction of arrival of waste on the conveyor allows gestures and postures to be varied.

Good ventilation in the workplace makes it possible to avoid the inhalation of dust and microorganisms and to avoid the appearance of pneumonia, ENT irritation and chronic bronchitis.

Reduce noise pollution (trommel screen, conveyors, etc.) at source by enclosure, sound and thermal insulation of the machine cabin from the rest of the center, soundproofing coatings on the chutes, regular lubrication and greasing of the machines, etc.

Wearing personal protective equipment corresponding to the exhibitions and activities: suitable clothing and shoes and washed regularly (disposable overalls must be available to carry out messy work or maintenance and cleaning tasks, or in the event of heavy accidental soiling) , gloves with chemical resistance, anti-cut, able to protect both the forearms and the hands, protective glasses, hearing protectors and respiratory mask if necessary.

Workplace hygiene: regularly clean contaminated floors and equipment, especially indoors, set up an effective pest control, install an eye wash fountain, shower after work.

The training concerns accidental and infectious risks, handling, wearing personal protection.

Landfills in the USA

number of lanfdills in USAA landfill is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial and is the oldest form of waste treatment known to man. Historically, landfills have been the most common method of organized waste disposal and remain so in many places around the world. This is the simplest method for disposing of detritus which explains their common usage.

In the United States, landfills are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the states’ environmental agencies. Municipal solid waste landfills (MSWLF) are required to be designed to protect the environment from contaminants that may be present in the solid waste stream.

Modern landfills are well-engineered facilities designed to receive specific kinds of waste, including municipal solid waste (MSW), construction and demolition debris (C&D) and hazardous waste. Landfill facilities must be designed to protect the environment from contaminants, which may be present in the solid waste disposed in the unit.

Enter the landfills’ realm, America’s method of disposing of and storing garbage. Extremely necessary, landfills are filling up quickly and rapidly expanding. You might be surprised by just how big some landfills are if you read a list of the largest landfills in the United States.

With more than 250 million tons of trash created in the US each year, the garbage business in America is beyond big. A list of the 10 largest landfills in the US based on their yearly input volume would surprise most people by the tons of junk processed in these facilities on a daily basis.

The U.S. has 3,091 active landfills and over 10,000 old municipal landfills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, all of which create hazardous air emissions (methane) and eventually leach into the ground water. In March, 2000 it was reported that 82% of surveyed landfill cells had leaks.

Looking at California on the map it looks absolutely covered in landfills, this is especially true in the Los Angeles area. Considering that the average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash every day it’s astonishing to think that there are only about 3,000 active landfills in the entire country. This tells how big they have to be on average in order to process all the waste materials produced by both the people and the corporations in this nation.

The United States is also home to thousands of inactive landfills – and some have found new life and purpose as public parks. But most are out of sight, out of mind. The West Coast is practically overflowing with landfills: There are a dozen in the Los Angeles area alone, though most are now closed.

It is actually a mountain of trash at the Rumpke sanitary landfill towering 1045 ft. above sea level. The US population discards each year 16,000,000,000 diapers, 1,600,000,000 pens, 2,000,000,000 razor blades, 220,000,000 car tires, and enough aluminum to rebuild the US commercial air fleet four times over.

36% of what is thrown away in the US each year is paper or cardboard, much of which is recyclable. The United States has over 3,000 active landfills and over 10,000 “old” landfills. All of these create hazardous gas and could be a danger to groundwater.

It is clear that the trend must be reversed as soon as possible as the USA cannot continue to accumulate so much garbage without the risk of dire consequences to the environment.