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Waste Disposal: Where Does Waste Go?

When you throw your garbage or yard waste into a dumpster, it can be easy to never think about it again. All of that has to go somewhere, though. But where? There are a few main places your waste is most likely to go, depending on what it is and the waste disposal practices and regulations where you live. Let’s take a look at the main places that waste goes.

Landfills: The Main Form of Waste Disposal in the United States

Landfills are simply disposal sites for waste. Landfill workers carefully contain and monitor waste and waste byproducts in landfills to avoid contaminating groundwater, soil, and the air. Eventually, when landfills are completely full, they shut down. You can think of them as a way to isolate waste from the surrounding environment. In the United States, landfills are where most waste goes.

Recycling Centers

Recycling centers help repurpose items like plastics, glass, paper products, and metals. These centers sort through recyclable items and then compact them into ‘bales’ that can be sent to mills where they are processed into new materials. What is recyclable for you depends on the infrastructure and policies in your area, so always check your local and state practices.

Recycling, while still much less common than landfilling, has become more widely adopted in the past several decades. In 2015, for instance, 67.77 million tons of waste were recycled in the United States, with to 137.7 million tons of waste going to landfills. Compare this to 25 years prior- in 1990, only 29.04 million tons were recycled, with 145.27 million tons being landfilled. Recycling is a preferable alternative to landfilling today, since it means reusing materials as opposed to trying to contain them in a landfill.

Composting

Composting is another of the main ways to deal with waste. Compost facilities use controlled aerobic decomposition to help turn organic waste into a nutrient-rich soil conditioner. Many food scraps and bits of yard waste are compostable. The end product of composting can help grow plants and food. Many people create their own compost, and some communities have composting centers or facilities where community members can drop off organic matter waste. Composting has the benefits of lowering carbon footprints, enriching soil, and reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.

Waste Combustion: A Declining Method of Waste Disposal

Combustion is another approach for disposing of waste. Municipal solid waste incinerator facilities burn waste at an extremely high temperature. They then use steam produced from incineration to create energy. However, this process has significant negative impacts on the environment and local communities. They increase pollution in their communities, most of which are lower-income communities of color in the United States. Support for this form of disposal in the US seems to be diminishing, particularly because the remaining facilities in the United States are aging and have old, inefficient technology. But in other parts of the world like Europe, combustion waste management is quickly becoming more accepted. These facilities also have better technology that is potentially safer for the environment and communities.

Moon Dumpsters  makes sure that waste disposal is as environmentally-friendly as possible, with efficient trucks and green disposal practices. To learn more about Moon’s full-service dumpster rentals and get the dumpsters you need, visit our website or call us at 502-414-8028 today!

A green dumpster sitting in front of a house

The Origin of the Dumpster

The dumpster is a common utility container all around the world. Dumpsters are so commonplace in everyday life that you may have never stopped to think about where they came from. Prior to their invention, waste disposal was a significant hindrance to public health in areas of high population. The dumpster helped solve sanitation issues that many cities faced in the early 20th century by making waste disposal more efficient and less labor-intensive. 

Here’s a look at the origin of the dumpster. 

George Dempster

The story of the dumpster starts with George Dempster in the 1930’s. Dempster owned a construction business with his brothers in Knoxville, Tennessee. His experience with the logistics of transporting waste in the construction business sparked the idea for the dumpster, which he eventually created and patented in 1935.  

Dempster’s design initially involved a pulley system that was mounted to a motorized truck. Containers were raised by pins welded to their sides, and then transported and emptied through a hinged door. Dempster first used this system for his construction business to handle waste. However, as sanitation issues became more and more significant in cities, the Dempster dumpster became a widespread solution. 

The Dumpster as a Sanitation Solution

Prior to the dumpster, waste collection and removal was extremely inefficient. Garbage and debris (particularly in cities) regularly piled up along streets and on sidewalks. Cities required a lot of labor to mitigate this public health hazard. While waste could be hauled away by carriage, and later by the Model T Ford, this still involved a lot of manual labor. Workers had to load and unload garbage by hand. 

The Dempster dumpster allowed sanitary, enclosed storage for waste near places of business and residence, and made it easy to remove waste and return the container quickly. Crucially, the technology reduced the amount of hands-on labor required for sanitation. A single person could now pick up and handle waste collection with a dumpster. In 1937, Nashville, Tennessee became the first city to purchase the dumpster, becoming an early adopter of a technology that is now everywhere. 

Later models of the dumpster evolved for greater efficiency. Dempster improved the initial model by adding hydraulic lifting with chains and pivot arms, outstripping the lifting power of the old model’s cables and pulleys. Post-World War II, Dempster went on to design a single-axle end-dumping container with ten cubic yards of volume. This design, called the Dempster Kolector, allowed trucks to haul the containers behind them for quick collection, emptying, and delivery.  

Dempster created technology related to dumpsters as well. In the 1950’s, Dempster’s company created the Dempster-Dumpmaster, an early model for what we now know as the garbage truck. The front-loading design allowed truck drivers to empty multiple dumpsters in one trip without ever leaving their seats. 

Modern Dumpster Technology

It’s safe to say that Dempster’s inventions have played a huge role in shaping waste collection and sanitation as we know them today. Dumpster designs have changed over the years and there are numerous options on the market. 

Companies like Moon Dumpsters now offer dumpsters ranging from 6 to 40 cubic yards, and roll-off dumpsters and other designs are now common. Moon also makes sure that waste disposal is as environmentally-friendly as possible, with efficient trucks and green disposal practices. To learn more about Moon’s full-service dumpster rentals and get the dumpsters you need, visit our website or call us at 502-414-8028 today!

Spreading the Word About Sustainable Waste Management

Google PlusAs a green company in Louisville, KY Moon Mini Dumpsters works hard to preserve our surrounding environment. We adopt business practices that will keep us, and the earth, sustaining for a long time. These include, but are not limited to, recycling waste and using fuel efficient vehicles. Our trucks are smaller and equipped with pollution reducing devices.

Sustainable Waste Management

Moon is not only concerned with conserving the environment and resources in Kentucky and southern Indiana. We understand that what happens here affects all those around us. This is why we share ideas and learn new practices from people everywhere. The Google + community Sustainable Waste Management allows us to do this. Made up of businesses and individuals committed to conservation and sustainability, SWM is a platform for people to interact and trade thoughts about the environment. We invite you to join today!

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