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Understanding the Different Types of Landfills

There are four different types of landfills found out there. Of the four types, three are standard landfills and the other is a green waste landfill. Gaining an understanding of the four different types of landfills will help you understand where trash goes. The different landfills make it possible to properly dispose of trash with less harm to the environment. Due to the different types of landfills, you probably have restrictions on what you can put out with your curbside trash. As a result, this can also impact the type of materials allowed in some dumpsters. Let’s look at each of the four types of landfills to gain a better understanding.

Industrial Waste Landfills

This might seem like a pretty easy type of landfill to figure out. This type of landfill is for industrial waste. If you’re renting a dumpster for a construction project, this is where your waste will likely end up. Some of the types of materials you can send to the industrial waste landfill include:
  • Metal
  • Brick
  • Gypsum
  • Asphalt
  • Lumber
  • Concrete
  • Building components, such as cabinets, doors, and countertops
These landfills, also known as C&D landfills often work as recovery facilities for materials, too. This is known as an MRF, which means the materials sent here could be sorted through and recovered. Any reusable materials can be taken out and donated to organizations that can use them or bought up by local resale stores. Businesses specializing in reclaimed building materials will often buy the recovered items, too. Some industrial waste landfills will even take old lumber and turn it into mulch by chipping it. These landfills serve purposes beyond just providing a place for industrial materials to go. The EPA also refers to some industrial landfills as Subtitle D landfills.

Green Waste Landfills

When it’s time to clear land or clean up your property, you might be sending your waste to a green waste landfill. This is a type of landfill sanctioned by the EPA. It’s meant specifically for organic materials that will naturally decompose over time. Green waste landfills are also known as composting sites and they have become more popular over the years. They take in yard waste, fruit, vegetables, and many other types of organic materials. Some of the most common materials sent to green waste landfills include:
  • Tree branches
  • Flowers
  • Grass trimmings
  • Mulch
  • Weeds
  • Leaves
  • Biodegradable food waste
The main purpose of this type of landfill is to preserve space in other landfills. By keeping the organic materials in a separate area, other landfills will have more room for waste that won’t decompose as fast. The EPA has estimated that green waste landfills are making a bit of a difference with more than 24,000 tons of yard trimmings sent to these landfills in 2017.

Hazardous Waste Landfills

A rather unique type of landfill used specifically for hazardous materials, a hazardous waste landfill is exactly what it sounds like. This type of landfill is designed to hold chemicals and other items that could be released into the environment and cause harm. The design is more sophisticated with double liners, leachate collection and removal systems, leak detection systems, run-on and runoff controls, wind dispersal controls, and other elements. A hazardous waste landfill gets inspected many times per year and must remain up to code. You will be sending anything not allowed in a dumpster rental to this type of landfill, most likely. This type of landfill is also where things you cannot put out with your curbside trash will go. A hazardous waste landfill can also be referred to as a Subtitle C landfill by the EPA. Subtitle C landfills don’t accept solid waste.

Municipal Solid Waste Landfills

The most common type of landfill is a municipal solid waste landfill or MSW landfill. When you put trash out to the curb, this is where it most likely will go. These landfills take just about anything but do have some safety and monitoring regulations. The common rules for an MSW landfill include regulations on where they can be located, the type of lining used, groundwater monitoring, and operating practices. MSW landfills are created in layers. They use a four-layered system with a liner, drainage system, gas collection system, and the trash itself as another layer. The layers will all be monitored very closely to ensure it remains safe for the environment and those working on the site. Due to safety restrictions, some MSW landfills are not open to the public, while others are. Some will only allow contractors and dumpster rental companies in. An MSW landfill is also called a Subtitle D landfill by the EPA. This is simply a categorization.

Quick Rundown of All Four Types of Landfills

  1. Industrial Waste Landfills: These are designed specifically for industrial waste materials that are non-hazardous, such as construction debris, demolition waste, and other types of non-inert materials. They are engineered to accommodate the large quantities of waste produced by factories, construction sites, and similar sources.
  2. Green Waste Landfills: These facilities focus on the disposal of organic waste from garden and yard maintenance, such as grass clippings, branches, leaves, and similar biodegradable materials. Green waste landfills often facilitate the composting process, turning organic waste into useful compost for agricultural and landscaping purposes.
  3. Hazardous Waste Landfills: These landfills are strictly regulated and designed to safely contain hazardous waste, which can be toxic, reactive, ignitable, corrosive, or otherwise harmful to human health and the environment. They have special liners and monitoring systems to prevent contamination of groundwater and the surrounding environment.
  4. Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Landfills: MSW landfills are the most common type and are intended for the disposal of everyday household and commercial waste. They accept a variety of refuse materials excluding hazardous waste. These landfills are also equipped with systems to manage leachate, gases, and other potential environmental impacts.

What about Dumps?

You might have heard of something referred to as a city dump or a dumpsite. Typically, someone speaking about the city dump is probably referring to a landfill. Dumps are most commonly illegal places where people will take their trash. It is not regulated and causes harm to the environment due to the lack of regulations. When you rent a dumpster, depending on what you put in it, the dumpster rental company may haul it off to a specific type of landfill. You can let them know what you will be disposing of and they can make sure your trash ends up in the proper landfill. No matter why you need a dumpster for clean-up, Waste Removal USA is here to help! Simply call us at 844-762-8449 or email us at sales@wasteremovalusa.com.

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