Recycling

Why we’re going landfill-free: the harmful impact of landfills in Australia

Our mission at Away Today is to create a landfill-free planet. Starting with a landfill free Australia. But why?

It’s a good question. The short answer is that landfills have long-lasting negative effects on the environment, contributing to global warming. At the same time, they’re unsustainable in the long term. 

Most importantly, when we rely on landfills we’re missing the opportunity to simply do better. Right now, 91% of plastic isn’t recycled, 45 tons (and counting) of e-waste has been thrown away and about 75% of waste is actually recyclable. 

Opponents often mention that improving waste management is just too expensive. But what if… it just isn’t? Let’s go over how landfills negatively impact the environment and why we need landfill-free solutions ASAP – like Away Today. 

The harmful impact of landfill sites for the environment 

Let’s be straight: landfill sites are terrible for the environment. More precisely, our rubbish is terrible for the environment. Burying our rubbish in the ground can impact the places and people surrounding it. Here are five negative effects of landfills today:

1. Landfill generates toxins and leachate, which contaminate the soil quality and water supply.

Rubbish comes in many shapes and sizes. Some rubbish has hazardous parts, such as e-waste or household chemicals. Over time, rainfall can create toxic run-off (called leachate), which can be dangerous. These toxins have a serious negative impact on soil quality and if leachate gets into a community’s water supply, it can be lethal to people too.  

2. Landfill sites wreak havoc on natural wildlife and habitats.  

Biodiversity is another area impacted by landfill in Australia. Landfills require cleared sites, as well as a buffer of space. However, it’s not just the clearing of sites and land that harms animals. If toxins leak into the soil and water, plant life can die off, taking away critical food sources. 

3. Landfill gas is a big fire-risk that is dangerous to humans.

Landfill gas is high-risk for fires. That’s because of potentially hazardous materials that get dumped on this sites in Australia. Fire risk can be a danger to employees who work at the landfill, as well neighbouring communities. At the same time, burning waste is extremely bad for CO2 emissions, carbon dioxide and in the end human health.

4. Landfill can impact neighbouring communities and resident health.

Landfill sites are generally located away from communities, so that health impacts are limited. Some landfills even have responsible layers and protections from toxic leaks. However, the risk of human health impacts is real. Landfills that don’t meet standards can be harmful to resident health.

5. Landfills release high levels of methane gas capture and CO2, contributing to global warming.

Global warming is also top of mind when it comes to landfill. Landfill release lots of air pollution, including methane gas and CO2, which contributes to global warming processes and effects air quality standards. As you can see, landfills are hardly ideal. It’s clear that to solve the problem of landfills, we must solve the problem of rubbish. 

Types of reusable waste at landfill sites

The most dismaying aspect of landfill in Australia is the amount of waste in them that could have been recycled or reused, if classification had been implemented. This is a big missed opportunity to reduce environmental impacts. For example, media reports, national waste management database and landfill survey data: 

  • Plastic: 91% isn’t recycled. 
  • Glass: 2/3 of glass doesn’t get recycled (even though glass is 100% recyclable). 
  • E-waste: 45 tons (and counting) has been tossed. 
  • Food waste: 1.3 billion tons worldwide every year is lost or wasted. 
  • Clothing and shoes: 11 million tons of recyclable clothing is thrown away every year.
  • Containers and packing: $11.4 billion worth of recyclable containers and packaging is thrown away every year. 

 If this seems like a huge waste to you, it is. And this is just a short list of items from the landfill survey data. It’s clear that classifying rubbish is an essential step to clean up our waste streams. We believe we’re not doing enough to stop these recyclable items from entering landfills. 

The unsustainable problem of resource recovery infrastructure

Another issue with landfill gas in capital cities around the world, Queensland (Australia), New south Wales (Australia), South Australia, all local councils and everywhere else in Australia is that they’re unsustainable. Once full, landfills can “close” to new rubbish. This means we’ll eventually run out of landfill space. Opponents often talk about how much land is on earth – but the number of sites for landfills that are safely located away from water sources and communities are limited. Especially in local councils in Australia.

It’s also worth mentioning that not all landfills are sanitary. There are a lot of non-sanitary landfills around the world that aren’t meeting safety standards or being monitored. This is also a potential pitfall of landfill: existing ones could become bigger, more dangerous and more difficult to clean up. 

 We often have an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to landfills. Yet, if we don’t take care of classifying rubbish in our waste streams, we’ll be seeing a lot more of landfills. 

The limited benefits of landfills

It’s also important to talk about the so-called benefits of landfills, so that we can better understand the environmental stakes. Here are the top three reasons mentioned in favour of landfills. 

1. Landfill is cost-effective.

Thisis perhaps the most commonly cited benefit of landfills. It’s true: landfills are a quick-and-dirty solution that gets trash out of our communities. In contrast, classification of materials can be expensive, though we’d argue that it’s cheaper in the long run. 

2. Properly-run landfill can limit toxic exposure.

Responsibly-run sites have protective layers and tanks that store toxic run-off (called leachate). In this way, these sites contain potential toxic exposure. 

3. Landfill avoids other resource-intensive solutions.

Proponents of landfills say that other solutions just aren’t affordable. Yet, without better handling environmental impacts, we will likely pay the price in the future with climate change. 

 At the same time, Away Today’s landfill-free services aren’t more expensive than our competitor rubbish removal services. We’ve created a sustainable structure that works – and doesn’t cost any more than landfill-dependent services and has way better recovery rates. We believe rubbish removal companies and governments around the world should invest in doing the same.

Why landfill-free rubbish removal companies matter 

Rubbish removal companies are key middlemen in this fight to go landfill-free. Classifying rubbish should be a mandatory step for all removal services. Instead of going straight to the landfill like most of our competitors, we classify all the rubbish we collect in order to find other destinations for it. 

The A-way Today Way 

At Away Today, we pick up your rubbish and find ways to reuse, recycle, donate and convert waste to energy. It’s a more involved process, but it’s worth it to protect the environment and find alternative destinations for most of your rubbish. 

Why your consumer choices matter

Your choices as a consumer also matter. As a community, we should all work towards reducing our rubbish. You can make a difference in small yet important ways, including:

  • Reuse or donate items whenever possible. You can check with your local clothing charity to donate clothes you no longer need. This goes for appliances and electronics, too. Almost all these items can be repurposed. 
  • Take the time to recycle all items possible. Recycling can be a pain to organize. But if you set up a bin system at home for your household waste or as a business for your industrial waste, the right disposal can be easier than you think. We recommend the “sort as you go” method so that you don’t get stuck sorting your recycling for the pick-up.
  • Compost organic waste. Composts are great for the environment and also low-cost to set up. Keeping a compost by the trash bin is a great reminder to throw organic household waste in the compost instead.
  • Reduce rubbish generated by only buying what you need. Sometimes we buy things and use them once. The more we can reduce unnecessary rubbish, the better. 
  • Avoid excess packaging and bagging whenever necessary. Some stores use a lot of packaging. Bring your own bag for shopping errands and use it for everything. Speak up and tell the cashier that you don’t need a bag. 
  • Choose sustainable rubbish removal and recycling companies like Away Today. One of the best ways to help the environment. It’s easy – and environmentally-friendly.

Rubbish removal Sydney 

Bychoosing sustainable rubbish removal, you can avoid adding to the already-full pile. You’re not sacrificing on quality or convenience either. Away Today offers same-day and contactless pick-up (especially during coronavirus) as well as a wide range of rubbish and recycling-related services and other waste solutions. With a simple navigation through the website and a convenient booking process Away Today is Australia`s number one choice for rubbish removal. 

Away Today’s landfill-free solution

At Away Today, we like to do things better. More than just a good rubbish removal. We’re the first rubbish removal service in Australia that sorts out and recycles all your rubbish. And we’re proud of it. Our service goes beyond waste. Our model works to classify rubbish for you and find other sustainable destinations for it. We’re good at it too – we recycle or reuse 90% + of the rubbish we pick up. Not to mention that we’re always working to increase this number to 100% and reach our diversion targets. 

The pricing for sustainable rubbish removal 

For those nay-sayers who assume Away Todays service is more expensive: it’s not. We have the same average prices as all our competitors who use landfills – starting at $79. Contact us 🙂 In case you were wondering, most of the other rubbish removal services and skip bins in Sydney use landfills to get rid of trash. 

In this way, you get much more for your money. You can get the same pricing and convenience of rubbish removal for all types of commercial and industrial waste, construction and demolition waste, household rubbish, garden waste and except our services are as environmentally-friendly as possible. The costs to you – and the environment – are low. Just how we like it. 

The idea that environmentally-friendly rubbish removal is too expensive is a myth. Away Today is living proof that affordable and sustainable rubbish removal is possible – and can save our planet from the harmful impact of landfills by simply diverting all the garbage to recycle all material for a sustainable disposal. 

Join the movement. Go landfill-free with us. 

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