Q: Why is recycling important in your business?
A: Recycling is a key part of our service offering because it meets the needs of our customers. Philosophically, we also believe in the 3-Rs because when we recycle, our society can conserve scarce and sometimes irreplaceable natural resources.
Q: What happens to recycled material after you pick it up at my curb?
A: A dedicated truck carries the material, sometimes in separated form and sometimes commingled, to a recycling centre , known as a “recyclery”. There, the material is sorted both mechanically and by hand to separate the recyclables from non-recyclables. Recovered product is then packaged, such as baling of paper and cardboard, for shipment to manufacturers to produce new products.
Q: How have landfills changed in the last 50 years?
A: The change in landfill technology has been dramatic over this period. In the distant past, society had little regard for waste and its impact on the environment. With the advent of solvents and other volatile organic compounds in the twentieth century, the need to protect the environment from the effects of these new man-made chemicals became evident. In North America, governments enacted legislation to control the management of waste in the latter half of the twentieth century to require better management methods than previously existed. These rules have led to the establishment of secure, engineered waste facilities that prevent improper disposal, contain the waste, provide for removal of leachate, manage gas and protect the environment.
Q: What is leachate and how do leachate collection systems work?
A: Leachate is created when moisture and water flow down through waste picking up contaminants. By using a containment and drain system, leachate is collected and removed for treatment. Removal of the leachate prevents it from affecting groundwater. Leachate is collected thorough a drainage system which can include one or more base liners, collection piping or other means, and a system for treating the leachate either on site or at a local treatment plant.
Q: Is landfill gas a source of energy?
A: Absolutely. Today, many landfills produce energy that is used to power industrial facilities, heat homes and fuel vehicles. This is made possible because methane (a basic ingredient in natural gas) is a byproduct of waste decomposition and can be captured at the site and piped to a conversion facility where it can be processed into a useable form of energy.
Q: How prevalent are landfill gas-to-energy facilities?
A: According to industry statistics, there are almost 400 landfill gas-to-energy equipped facilities in operation today in North America. This includes two of our landfills.
Q: Why don’t all landfills use gas to energy technology?
A: Smaller landfills do not produce enough methane gas to make the process economical. The volume of methane produced is, in fact, determined by the size of the landfill, the temperature of the decomposing waste and the amount of moisture flowing through.
Q: Have landfill methane gas emissions declined or increased in the past 30 years?
A: Statistics captured by the EPA suggest landfill methane gas emissions declined 54% from 1970 to 2003 due to collection systems and gas-to-energy technologies.
Q: What happens to a landfill when it closes?
A: Modern landfills are designed at the outset to become usable neighborhood assets after they close. Today’s landfills, in fact, may become tomorrow’s soccer fields, hiking trails, airports, golf courses, ski hills or put to other beneficial uses.