Global waste is expected to grow to 3.40 billion tons by 2050. Approximately 97% of the residual MSW waste after diversion (recycling and composting), and recovery (energy from waste) is landfilled (or about 24,111,546 tons).
Landfills have harmful environmental impacts including:
- Landfills release methane, a very powerful greenhouse. Methane is 84 times more effective at absorbing the sun’s heat than carbon dioxide. Along with methane, landfills also produce carbon dioxide and water vapor, and gases that can contribute to climate change.
- The creation of landfills typically means destroying natural habitats for wildlife.
- While landfills are required to have plastic or clay lining by federal regulation, these liners tend to have leaks. This can result in leachate that contains high levels of ammonia.