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Knowledge Base | Glossary | What is a Landfill?

What is a Landfill?

A Landfill is a location where disposable materials are sent. There, the refuse is buried underground to remove it from sight. This is done in a way that prevents it from coming into contact with and potentially contaminating any groundwater.

There are a few different types of Landfills. The most common dumps are Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Landfills, which is where household waste is deposited. Another type of Landfill, Industrial Waste Landfills, receive waste collected by commercial and institutional waste. Finally, Hazardous Waste Landfills receive specialty waste that needs to be carefully handled and have the potential to be harmful if disposed of in another type of landfill.

Landfills have not changed much since their earliest known existence. In Ancient Greece, Minoan Cretans would dump refuse into open pits and later bury it, creating an early version of a Landfill. Usually, these dumping sites would be areas that were not being or could not be otherwise used. The Landfill didn’t start to become more like what it is today until 1937 when the first sanitary Landfill was built in Fresno, California.

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Other Sources

“For Education.” Began with the Bin. http://beginwiththebin.org/resources/for-education. Accessed May 3, 2016.

Wallace, Bob. “US Landfill Disposal the Big Picture – WIH Resource Group.” WIH Resource Group. January 13, 2010. https://wihresourcegroup.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/us-landfill-disposal-the-big-picture-wih-resource-group/. Accessed May 10, 2016.

https://www.epa.gov/landfills/basic-information-about-landfills#whatis