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Landfills Reaching Capacity . . . Are we Running Out of Space?


While engineers and scientists have made dramatic breakthroughs to make the disposal of municipal solid waste much more efficient, many of our landfills are reaching capacity. And as we know, we have a finite amount of space.

In its most recent solid waste report (June 2015), the EPA noted that as of 2014, Americans generated 254 million tons of waste. The good news is that the amount of waste that went into landfills dropped from 145.3 million tons in 1990 to 134.3 million in 2013.

The EPA reports that nationally, landfill capacity is “sufficient for our current disposal practices” but that some regions have limited disposal options.

Quick Facts about Landfills

  • As of 2013, the EPA estimated that the amount of municipal waste disposed of in US landfills is about 265 million metric tons.
  • Organic materials are estimated to be the largest component of municipal solid waste (MSW), with paper and paperboard accounting for 29%, and yard trimmings and food scraps accounting for another 27%.
  • The balance of MSW includes plastics (12%), metals (9%), rubber, leather and textiles (collectively 8%), wood (approximately 6%), and glass (5%), with other miscellaneous wastes making up the remaining 4% of MSW.
  • In 2010, Americans recovered almost 65 million tons of MSW (excluding composting) through recycling.
  • Leachate treatment facilities at modern landfills are capable of removing almost all organics and over 85% of heavy metals.

Did you Know?

  • In 1986, there were over 7,600 dumps in the United States (a “dump” is essentially slang, including both permitted landfills and other legal and illegal waste disposal sites).
  • By 2009, there were just 1,908 permitted landfills nationwide. That’s a 75% decline in less than 25 years.

On the flip side:

  • Consolidation of many multiple landfills into single, efficient facilities has been responsible for much of the decrease.
  • Sophisticated technology has made each landfill more efficient, so that each acre of landfill, on average, is able to take on 30% more waste.

The Role of Environmental Engineering Firms in Managing Municipal Solid Waste

Landfills, composting facilities, material recovery facilities (MRFs), and transfer stations are key elements to any municipality’s waste management solutions. In addition to discovering new locations for such facilities, environmental engineers must consider the increasing costs of hauling wastes over long distances.

HSA Golden offers a wealth of experience and expertise in designing, permitting, and constructing waste management and disposal facilities. For every project, we consider efficiency, safety, and cost-effectiveness, in addition to impacts on the environment and on the community. If your project involves any aspect of solid waste management, recycling, composting or the permit process and you would like our expert consultation, call us at 1-407-649-5475. Click here for a free project evaluation.

Project Showcase

Since 1989, HSA Golden has provided environmental engineering and consulting services to clients all over the world. Our practice areas include solid and hazardous waste management, waste-to-energy, site development engineering, environmental due diligence, and litigation support, among others. From governmental agencies and multinational, publicly traded corporations to smaller, single-office real estate and legal firms, we are proud of not only the relationships we have built, but also of the trust that our clients place in us.

  • Orange County Continuing Environmental Services Contract

    Orange County

  • Site Remediation: Crane Rental Corporation

    Orange County

  • Site Remediation: Men’s Wearhouse

    Winter Garden, Orange County

  • Brownfield Remediation: Former Union 76 Station

    Orange County

  • Site Remediation: Orlando Int’l Airport West Ramp

    Orange County

  • Site Remediation: Former Kissimmee Livestock Market


  • Site Remediation: Former United Solvents of America


  • Orlando International Airport


  • Former McCoy Navy Base

    Orlando, Orange County

  • Steel House Brownfield Site


  • Brownfield Redevelopment: The Landings

    Orlando, Orange County

  • Phase I & II Environmental Site Assessment: Former Agere Semiconductor Facility

    Winter Haven

  • Expert Review and Evaluation: South Shore Falls Development

    Hillsborough County

  • Expert Review and Testimony: Confidential Site

    Palm Beach County

  • Expert Review and Testimony: Warehouse Facility

    Lake Mary

  • Contamination Assessment: Former Ellman Battery Site

    Orange County

  • Contamination Assessment: Altamonte Hauling Facility

    Altamonte Springs

  • DeSoto Construction & Demolition Debris Disposal Facility

    DeSoto County

  • Fedepalma Palm Oil Mills


  • Soles 1 and 2


  • Granja Jeroa

    Mato Grosso do Sul

  • Limestone Mine and Cement Plant Permitting

    Sumter County

  • Counts Limerock Mine

    Marion County

  • Class I Waste Transfer Station/C&D Recycling Facility

    Bunnell, Flagler County

  • Asphalt Roofing Recycling Facility

    Taft, Unincorporated Orange County

  • Reuters Recycling Demonstration Test

    Broward County

  • EarthGuard Recycling Center

    Orange County

  • Taft Recyling Transfer Station

    Orange County

  • VitAg Fertilizer Plant Engineering

    Orange County

  • DeSoto Construction & Demolition Debris Disposal Facility

    DeSoto County

  • Golden Gem Road Class III Landfill LFG System


  • Lake Environmental Resources C&D Disposal Facility

    Lake County

  • West Orange Environmental C&D Disposal Facility

    Winter Garden

  • DeSoto Landfill Leachate Storage Facility

    DeSoto County

  • La Duquesa Municipal Landfill

    Santo Domingo

  • Olu Tee Landfill Design Engineering


  • Mid-Florida Materials Class III Recycling & Disposal Facility


we are ready for your next project

Thanks again for looking over our site and considering us for help with your project. We would be pleased to assist you with your environmental engineering and consulting needs, whether they are large or small. Please take a moment and fill out as much of the form below as you can, and someone from our firm will quickly respond to your inquiry request. Or, just pick up the phone and call us at +1 407 649 5475.


This post first appeared on Environmental And Engineering Consult, please read the originial post: here

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Landfills Reaching Capacity . . . Are we Running Out of Space?


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