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Solid Waste & Recycling Services

The Beauty of a Landfill

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Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2016
By: J.P. Mascaro & Sons
Categories: Main Category  |  Recycling

The sun is beating down on the mound of a newly constructed baseball field as the pitcher winds up to throw his fastball to the batter who has spent hours swinging the bat preparing for this pitch.  In the distance, children are running around a track, pumping their legs on the swings of a playset and climbing rock walls to reach the top of an 8ft slide.  Adults and children alike are enjoying the benefits of this park that was graciously donated to the township.  This beautiful park that was once a landfill. 

A landfill?  Yeah right.  Not possible.  Landfills are gross.  They’re called dumps for a reason.  They smell worse than a dirty porta potty and have trash strewn everywhere.  That’s a landfill.  Not this gorgeous, exciting community park!  This is the common misconception of the final destination of our unrecycled waste.  And while that may have been true when your grandfather was a toddler, that description has long been a reality of the past.

In order to operate legally in our world today, landfills must follow strict guidelines and are intensely monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)   Landfills have gone from unregulated areas to throw trash to technology advanced engineering structures that work to protect the environment while disposing of your trash.  As the most common method to handle waste, landfills now do so with the waste industry’s latest technology and state-of-the-art systems meticulously managed by top professionals. 

Not only do these facilities provide the most efficient, safe and cost-effective disposal option for that unrecycled waste you often forget about once it leaves your curb, the trash generated at landfills can create renewable energy!  This naturally occurring and environmental friendly gas can be used as an alternative to fossil fuels (think gas, coal and oil), bringing power to homes and businesses and fuel to your vehicles in a way that offsets greenhouse gas.  For example, Pioneer Crossing Landfill in Birdsboro, PA produces enough energy to light 14,000 single-family homes a year or replace almost 6 million gallons of gasoline!  And that’s just one landfill.  Waste Management Inc. estimates their landfills combine to turn on power for over 440,000 homes.  According to their website, this is equivalent to offsetting 2.2 million tons of coal per year!  Not a bad way to utilize waste, huh?

And if you ever drive by a landfill, you might not even know it was one.  More and more often, waste removal companies are taking the time to attractively landscape their landfill’s surroundings causing them to blend in with their local surroundings.  This is especially true if it’s one that has reached its saturation limit and has been turned into one of those recreational parks mentioned earlier.

Today’s technology and green awareness allows for landfills to be converted into something useful at the end of their functional life.  Many former facilities have been transformed into beautiful and elaborate recreational parks.  Mount Trashmore Park in Virginia Beach is the most popular park in the city.  Over a million visitors each year take advantage of the 165 acres of land that hosts 4 large and 11 small picnic shelters, a highly sought out children’s playground, four volleyball areas, a basketball court, multiple walking trails that span miles and a famous 24,000-square-foot skate park that has felt the boards of even the highest ranked skating professionals. 

Virginia Beach is not nearly alone in benefiting from capped sanitation sites.  What was once known as the largest landfill in the world, Fresh Kills in New York City is currently in development to now become the city’s largest park, spanning almost 3 times the size of Central Park! Not only will this facility include a vast amount of recreational, educational and athletic resources, it will contain a 46-acre solar array capable of powering 2000 Staten Island homes!  That Pioneer Crossing Landfill mentioned still has years of life left, yet it is already dedicated to become a world class recreation area at no cost to the community when its trash days are done.  And this is happening all over the world!  Chambers Gully in Australia is now a park with a unique haven for wildlife.  It’s not uncommon to see koala bears sitting among the many eucalyptus trees.

The list goes on.  Our society is continually learning to successfully turn trash into a resource and waste removal companies are determined to keep this initiative going in the right direction.   Who knows?  The next time you enjoy a family picnic at the park, you may be spreading your blanket out over a retired landfill. 

Tagged:Green, Recycle, Recycling, Sustainability, Giving, Community, Giving Back, Donation, Landfills, Environment, Solid Waste, Trash, Garbage, Compost, Organic, Biosolids, Organic waste, Evironmental Responsibility, Earth, Planet, Carbon Footprint, Energy Consumption, Kids, Children, dumps, recreation, parks, picnic, wildlife, baseball

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