Waste, Impact on Health and Safety Lab

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Date Submitted: 11/13/2012 04:15 PM

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Week 7 – iLab

Waste, Impact on Health and Safety

1.  From the iLab: What is the structure of a landfill?

A landfill is a carefully designed piece of land that collects solid wastes from homes, business and other sources. It is laid out this way to prevent leakage into ground and surface water. At the base there is a composite of plastic and clay coating to prevent any waste from passing through. They work hand in hand where the clay prevents thick and heavy materials from tearing the plastic coating and the plastic picks up any small bits able to pass through. There is a drainage pipe to collect any liquid called leachate from the landfill and distribute it out to a leachate collection pond. This prevents any substances from reaching the ground water. After the base is laid out the waste is then put into allotted refuse cells. These cells are then covered and surrounded by 8 – 18 inches of dirt to keep it buried. From there these cells are stacked atop each other to the planned height.


2. What is the top three materials (and their amounts in %) that comprise the United States’ MSW? Does this surprise you? Why or why not?

The top three materials that make up the highest percent of the United States MSW are:

• 32.7% Paper, Paperboard

• 12.8% Yard Waste

• 12.5% Food Waste

It does not surprise me to see these three as the top materials used but it does surprise me to see paper almost a 1/3 of the total amount of trash disposed at MSWs. I would have thought that food waste would have shown a higher percentage than it has knowing that Americans throw away the most food in the world at the consumption level, tallying over 1.3 billion tons of food this year alone - food which hungry people in other countries would die for. Which is why sometimes you hear the saying that their "eyes are bigger than their stomachs" while hungry people in foreign countries would definitely see “one man's trash as...