What happens to the waste after it goes to the landfill?

Once a landfill is officially closed and sealed with clay on top, the waste is isolated from the surrounding environment, at least in theory. The garbage is gradually compacted and chemically changed. The decomposition of organic material slows down in the anaerobic (oxygen-deprived) environment, but does not stop completely. Landfills are not designed to break down waste, only to store it, according to the NSWMA.

However, garbage in a landfill decomposes, albeit slowly and in a sealed, oxygen-free environment. Due to the lack of oxygen, bacteria in the waste produce methane gas, which is highly flammable and dangerous if allowed to accumulate underground. It is also a potent greenhouse gas and contributes to global warming. Tens of thousands of pounds of trash are discarded every day.

Once the waste leaves your home, it is transported to a waste processing plant, where it is sorted and sorted. Waste, such as paper products, uneaten food, scrap metal, furniture and clothing, follow various sorting routes depending on the article. Some of the garbage is recycled or converted into compost, while other discarded items are sent to waste-to-energy facilities and the rest of the garbage goes to landfills. Fortunately, some of that waste is converted into energy in waste-to-energy facilities and is used in local power grids.

The process is carried out during the period between garbage collection and its transfer to its final resting place in a landfill. When garbage is deposited, it is usually radically transformed through methods such as incineration, which reduce its volume and facilitate its burial, while generating energy in the process. As such, the nation has a vast supply of energy in the form of waste, unlike recycled aluminum. Currently, Americans generate 21.5 million tons of food waste a year, according to DoSomething.

Some cities and municipalities offer sidewalk recycling as a convenient way to reduce e-waste. China and Ghana are among the most frequent destinations for e-waste, also known as “e-waste”. The global trade in waste has exploded with the advent of modern technology, and products such as computers, peripherals, hardware and other electronic devices account for the majority of global waste shipments. Countries with a high consumption of foreign waste have experienced disproportionate levels of pollution and diseases among local populations.

The global trade in waste has been criticized by environmental groups, who cite high levels of toxicity in and around the places where the contents are routinely dumped. In a modern landfill, compact waste mounds are sealed under a rubber and clay barrier and on a coating that prevents liquids from leaking out. Basically, wasted food isn't really wasted when you consider its other inedible uses. However, more than half of the garbage in the United States ends up in a landfill, according to the National Solid Waste Management Association.

In general, the practice of shipping garbage abroad, as part of the global waste trade, is reserved for waste of the toxic variety. For some communities, the process of converting waste into energy serves as the main source of residential power. Advocates of the global waste trade have argued that it allows the poorest countries to improve their economic situation.