Where does our garbage go?
If you are anything like me, you throw something into a garbage bin every day. Then, every few days or so, someone in your family takes the garbage bag out of the bin and puts it in a bin outside. Then, once a week or so a garbage truck comes by and a worker with a reflective vest dumps the bin into a garbage truck.
The garbage truck worker goes all around the neighborhood to dump all the bins in the area. Along the way, the garbage in the truck gets smashed down so more trash will fit in the truck. When the garbage worker is done collecting the trash, they drive the truck to a landfill and dump all the garbage there.
A landfill is a big hole in the ground that is lined with layers of concrete and clay to keep harmful waste from leaking. When trash is dumped at the landfill, bigger trucks drive over the trash to compact it some more. Then dirt is spread over all the trash deposited in the landfill.
Landfills can only hold a certain amount of garbage. When they can’t hold any more trash, a new landfill is created and the old landfill is covered up permanently.
Some people are concerned about running out of space in landfills. Other people worry about the cost of mining raw materials for goods. Building new landfills are expensive and it can cost less to salvage raw materials from waste than make the material from scratch. This thinking has led many local governments to encourage people to recycle glass, metal, plastic and paper waste. When these things are put into a recycle bin, they are sent to a recycling plant where they are sorted and sold to manufacturers who use the material to make new products.