Environment Effect on Landfill
One option of handling plastic waste is sending it to landfill. Here, it’s important to distinguish between the quality/effectiveness of landfills. Read this article about recycling, incineration and landfill https://www.naraloca.com/post/recycle-incinerate-or-landfill
The modern definition of a landfill is of a disposal site for materials through burial. This is typically the case in high-income countries today where landfills are well-managed and effectively regulated. However, across many countries today landfill resources can be poorly-managed; in many cases dumped in open landfills, pits or dumps. Such uncontrolled disposal facilities can make plastics vulnerable to pollution of the surrounding environment and at risk of entering the ocean (https://www.naraloca.com/post/ocean-of-plastic).
Well-managed landfill facilities have expectations to gather, compact and safely store waste. In many cases this involves covering or burying with soils or other materials. However, such landfills still have negative environmental impacts:
Greenhouse gases: when organic matter decomposes to produce methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) — both are greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change. In some landfill sites, methane gas can be captured and ‘flared’ (burned) for energy production. Plastic, which is hard to break down, degrades over very long timescales (particularly under low oxygen conditions) does not contribute to this effect.
Leachate: decomposing material can produce nutrient-rich or polluted waters which — if not properly contained — can leach to the surrounding environment and potentially enter waterways and soils. Well-managed landfills are usually surrounded by protective lining to prevent water leaching to the surrounding environment. However, local pollution can occur where this is not implemented effectively, or the lining breaks down and is not replaced.
Where plastics are not handled correctly, some types of plastic — such as polyvinyl chloride; PVC — can leach chemicals such as additives and plasticiser compounds. A report by the European Commission aimed to provide a detailed analysis and overview of the available evidence on the behaviour of PVC in landfills. The study concluded that whilst leachate of substances as either non-detectable or in very low concentrations, a precautionary approach would deem this material only controllable if landfills are equipped with adequate liner and leachate treatment.
Nara Loca Abadi is a recycled plastic specialist that concerned about the earth and environment by promoting the use of recycled PET flakes, recycled PET chips, recycled PP & HDPE granules to various plastic and polyester manufacturers.