Most people don’t stop to think about the effect that landfill is having on the environment and our health. Yet when you work in the construction and demolition (C&D) industry and see how much waste is produced on a daily basis, you can’t help but ponder the impact.
While efforts are being made to reduce, reuse and recycle waste, we’re still producing alarming levels – most of which ends up in landfill sites. A deeper understanding of landfills and their effect on the environment will hopefully encourage more people and industries to care about their waste production and where their unwanted materials end up.
The environmental impact of landfills
The abundance of rotting matter that finds its way into landfill sites produces methane, a greenhouse gas (yes, the kind that contributes to global warming) thought to be more potent than carbon dioxide. The mixture of chemicals that comes from household and industrial cleaning solutions produces gases that can be harmful to air quality. Ever stopped to consider the affect that breathing in this air might have on our health?
Aside from this, there are an abundance of non-chemical contaminants that can further affect the air and also the welfare of any animals that come into contact will landfill sites. Plus, there’s the potential contamination to soil and groundwater.
Pollution fast facts*
- In Australia we use 13-14 billion drinks containers a year with half of these ending up as waste in landfill, littering our beaches, streets and oceans.
- Every minute 15,000 bottles and cans are littered or thrown into landfill in Australia.
- The energy needed to make one plastic bottle could recycle 10 plastic bottles.
- 40% of the rubbish collected on ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ is bottles and cans.
- Marine plastic pollution had become a major issue, affecting not just our oceans but sea creatures around the world.
- 100 marine species in Australia are known to be affected by plastic pollution in our oceans. This includes the Blue Whale and Loggerhead Turtle.
You see our waste really does matter. Whether it’s household waste or C&D waste, it all contributes to landfill. Let’s take action!