Typical Waste Disposal Hierarchy
The best way to deal with trash is to not have any!
Reducing the amount of trash you have to throw out actually prevents waste from piling up in the first place. To
reduce your waste, avoid unnecessary packaging and items designed to be
used only once. Reduce the need for ’single use’ plastic bags by
bringing your own bags when you shop, and use a travel mug when you buy
coffee. Choose durable, reusable products to make less trash.
Reusing items saves a lot of energy and money.
Extend the life of items you buy by reusing them. For example, reuse
containers and jars, and donate still usable household goods and
clothing to charity.
Every day we use products made from recycled materials. Take your
glass, cans, newspapers, milk jugs and other acceptable recyclable
items to your local transfer station or curbside collection so that
they can be turned into new products like new glass containers, frisbees, cars, and soda cans. Recycling saves money, energy, and the
When you compost, you convert vegetable scraps, leaves, grass clippings
and other materials into a nutrient rich soil material. You can use
finished compost in your garden and around shrubs or other plants to
help them grow. Composting also reduces the amount of materials that
need to be landfilled.
Waste-to-Energy facilities accept solid waste and combust it at very
high temperatures producing heat that is used to convert water into
steam. The steam is used to run turbines to generate electricity.
Scrubbers, filters, and other pollution control equipment reduce
pollutants released during the incineration process. Ash and other
residues are landfilled.
Today’s landfills are very different from the old ones where people
just dumped their garbage in an open area. Landfills are constructed
and operated to strict environmental standards, including liners to
protect groundwater. Within this hierarchy, landfills are the last of
the various solid waste management options that should be considered.