The Earth911 team sits down to talk about how dumps differ from landfills, how incinerators work, and the limits of landfill expansion. Join Evelyn Fileding-Lopez, Sarah Lozanova, and Mitch Ratcliffe for this week’s But first, we explore natural ways to remove stains, including grease, blood, and wine in recent infographic from Tommy John that we published. Do you know how to dispose of plastic bags responsibly? In one of our most popular postings of the last month, Patti Roth explained how disposable plastic bags have become a greater challenge to recycle and, unfortunately, now mostly end up in landfills. Here’s an important tip: don’t put your recyclables into plastic bags; instead, take plastic and cans out of the bag when you put them in the bin to prevent them from going into the garbage.
Where does your garbage go? We walk through Gemma Alexander’s excellent articles about where we send our garbage in the United States, how dumps differ from landfills, how landfills work, and how incinerators have become a more important part of U.S. waste disposal. The construction of a landfill is a complicated long-term commitment to manage it for three decades after it closes — yet, even that leaves tons of waste in the environment for centuries. Our recent article includes an illustration that explains how Incinerators are now a source of power generation, but produce toxic fly ash that can be reused to make concrete. The solution is to produce less garbage by buying less and recycling more. With a solid understanding of the ins and outs of where your garbage goes, you can make informed decisions about which recycling and waste options you want to use.
As always, we answer your Earthling questions about recycling disposable contact lenses with Terracycle, aluminum cat food cans, and acrylic paint.