Where Does Garbage Go

What is garbage?

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Garbage, which is also called waste, junk, or general waste, is anything that is no longer useful or needed and needs to be thrown away. Many things still have value after their first use, and they shouldn’t be thrown away unless they can’t be recycled, used again, or given a new purpose.

Where does our garbage go?

Virginia recycles more than 40% of the junk it makes. We recycle very well and are the best at it in the whole country. But this still leaves about 3.2 million metric tonnes of solid waste that needs to be thrown away in a way that is good for the environment.

In Virginia, most of this waste is sent to either municipal solid waste (MSW) compost facilities, waste-to-energy facilities (also called resource recovery facilities), or in-state and out-of-state landfills. But some waste is still dumped or burned on the site. Solid waste that is burned (in burn barrels) or buried on a person’s property makes up 1.5% of all waste.

MSW compost facilities sort the junk that comes in and turn as much of it into compost as they can (similar to city leaf composting sites). Less than 1% of our junk is taken care of by them. Resource recovery facilities burn solid waste to get energy out of it.

This energy is then used to power homes and businesses in the area. These facilities take care of 24.5% of the trash in Virginia. Landfills are large areas of land where waste and leftovers from facilities that process waste material are buried. They take in 33% of Virginia’s waste, which is most of the state’s waste.

Where Waste Goes First

When you throw garbage away, where does it go? Whether it’s picked up from a garbage box, a roll-off dumpster, or somewhere else, your waste may make more than one stop before it gets to where it’s going.

Transfer Stations

Transfer stations are places where dump trucks can temporarily drop off their waste. Here, the waste is packed down and made ready to be moved. The waste is then put into bigger trucks that will take it where it needs to go.

Material Recovery Facilities

Material recovery facilities, or MRFs, are places where trash is sorted to take out useful items before it goes to its final destination. MRFs come in two types: clean and dirty.

Clean MRFs get recyclables that homes or businesses have already sorted. When recyclables are mixed in with trash in a dirty MRF, it takes more work to sort them by hand. Modern MRFs use magnets, shredders, and current separators, among other things, to separate recyclables from trash (for sorting ferrous and non-ferrous metals).

Where does garbage end up?

After going through compactors and sorting machines, our trash is taken to one of the four places below to be dumped, recycled, or sometimes used to make energy.

1. Landfills

In the U.S., there are more than 3,000 active landfills, and about 52% of our junk ends up in one of them.

What Happens to Garbage in a Landfill?

The purpose of a landfill is to store garbage, not to break it down. They are made of layers of clay with flexible plastic skin on top. Drains and pipes run throughout each layer to collect the filthy water produced by garbage. As a layer fills up, it is topped with soil and plants and covered with another sheet of plastic. Garbage will break down over time in a landfill, but the process is slow because there is no oxygen there.

2. Recycling Facilities and Composters

About 35% of all solid waste goes to a recycling center or a composting center. Both recycling and composting are ways to turn waste into new things that can be used again.

Most recycling centers focus on processing aluminum, plastics, paper, and glass. Composters, on the other hand, use food and agricultural waste to make compost that can be used by the city and by individuals.

Since the early 1980s, the number of people who recycle and compost has grown every year. But over the last few years, the number of people who recycle has grown less quickly. Even so, some of the biggest cities in the U.S. have large recycling and composting systems, and many others are making plans to do the same.

The most recent statistics from the EPA about waste and recycling show that about 67.8 million metric tonnes of municipal solid waste were recycled in 2015. Most of the materials that were recycled were paper.

3. Trash incinerators

Incinerators are big industrial furnaces that are made to burn trash from cities. They deal with 12.8% of all MSW in the country. The main combustion chambers of these facilities run at a scorching 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to turn any amount of trash into ash.

This process cuts the original amount of waste by 95%, which makes a big difference in how much space is needed in a landfill. When MSW is burned, it gives off extra heat that can be used to make both heat and electricity.

4. Anaerobic Digesters

Anaerobic digestion is a biological process that uses microorganisms to turn organic materials into energy and fertilizer. This is another way that waste can be turned into energy. Large tanks called anaerobic digesters are used for this process.

Most of the time, they are on farms where there is a lot of organic waste. However, some take food waste from restaurants, grocery stores, and even whole communities. Digesters are also used at places that clean up sewage to make energy for the local power grid. Instead of using food or farm waste as feedstock, wastewater treatment plants use sewage that is high in organics.

  • No hassle easy dumpster rental
  • Customer-friendly service
  • Serving the Norfolk area
  • Fast delivery and pickup
  • Call (757) 780-1406 now!