Landfills getting picky

How times have changed – I remember the days of Dad taking trailer loads of rubbish of all types to the tip and it not costing a dime. A few months ago, I took a minivan load of green waste to a landfill that would recycle it.. and the privilege cost me around US $30.

Higher dumping costs certainly help us think twice of the amount of garbage we generate, but unfortunately it also leads to illegal dumping too. An area where we used to live, what should have been an oasis in suburbia in terms of proximity to a large park, was often sullied by dumping.

While there’s arguments for an against high landfill fees, something that I’ve seen which is a great idea is the banning of dumping recyclables items.

A recent example in the USA is the Edgecombe County Landfill, which has banned oil filters, wooden pallets, recyclable plastic bottles, used oil, green waste, antifreeze, aluminum cans, tires and lead acid batteries. The county has other arrangements for those items.

Something that works really well in our state (South Australia) is cash paid for recyclable cans and bottles. We get 10c each for these items and as a result, it’s now rare to see this type of waste laying around as it’s literally like throwing money away. Those items that do get carelessly disposed of are quickly snapped up by others.

Another recent strategy for not only reducing landfill demand, but also keeping the rest of our land a little freer of plastic is our ban on plastic disposable shopping bags.

A couple of years ago I lamented the sight of one of the major roads leading into Adelaide that was heavily littered for miles and miles with disposable bags. Even though the ban has only been in place for a short while, it’s already made a huge difference and nobody seems too have been too inconvenienced by the transition to reusable shopping bags.

So there’s a few things that you can do in your town to help the environment:

– Lobby your landfill to reject recyclables in general trash
– Push for cash incentives for recycling
– Start an initiative to “ban the bag”


Recycling by the numbers – includes my free plastics recycling cheat sheet you can download and print out!