Implications for Landfilling

The greater the density of the waste in a landfill, the more tons of waste can be disposed in the landfill. The density of waste in a landfill can be increased in a variety of ways, including the following:

• Using compacting equipment specifically designed for the purpose (Surprenant and Lemke 1994)

• Spreading the incoming waste in thinner layers prior to compaction (Surprenant and Lemke 1994)

• Shredding bulky, irregular materials such as lumber prior to landfilling

Because solid waste contains toxic materials (see Section 10.3), landfills must have impermeable liners and systems to collect water that has been in contact with the waste (leachate). The liner must be resistant to damage from any substance in the waste, including solvents. The first lift (layer) of waste placed on the liner must be free of large, sharp objects that could puncture the liner. For this reason, bulky waste is typically excluded from the first lift.

To some extent, the moisture content of waste placed in a landfill influences the quantity of the leachate generated. In most cases, however, a more important factor is the quantity of the precipitation that falls on the waste before an impermeable cap is placed over it.

For additional information, see Section 10.13.

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