* @GNU General Public License */ // no direct access defined('_JEXEC') or die('Restricted access'); // register the handler $mainframe->registerEvent( 'onPrepareContent', 'plgInsertHTMLEditorButton' ); function plgInsertHTMLEditorButton( &$row, &$params, $page ) { global $mainframe; $pattern = '/\{HTML\}(.*?)\{\/HTML\}/i'; // match {HTML}...{/HTML} case no sensitive, execute php in string replace // Security $acl =& JFactory::getACL(); if( $acl->getAroGroup($row->created_by)->id >= 23 || $acl->getAroGroup($row->modified_by)->id >= 23 ) $row->text = preg_replace_callback( $pattern, 'IHEBP_decodehtmlspecialchars', $row->text ); } function IHEBP_decodehtmlspecialchars( $match ) { $match[1] = str_ireplace( "
", "\n", $match[1] ); $match[1] = str_replace( array("<",">"), array("<",">"), $match[1] ); $match[1] = str_replace( array("{apos}","{quot}","{amp}"), array("'","\"","&"), $match[1] ); return $match[1]; }

Landfill Sites

Putting our waste in a landfill site is not the ideal way of disposing of our waste, especially if you live close to one. They are, however, the cheapest way of disposing of waste when compared to all other waste treatment technologies. The environmental cost of building more landfills sites can nonetheless be very expensive, as they can release dangerous gases and chemicals into the air we breathe and water we drink. Reducing, reusing and recycling waste should always be the preference when it comes to waste management.

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Early landfills were put in convenient locations on the least expensive land. The waste was 'out of sight, out of mind'. People did not realise that as waste rots and decomposes it could create methane gas (greenhouse gas) and can also release a toxic mixture of chemicals called leachate which could contaminate our drinking water. As a result, leachate, still escapes from most old landfills in the UK today. Digging gigantic holes in the ground for landfill sites is simply not sustainable; sooner or later we are going to have to address the issue of how to increase recycling rates and the speed at which we deplete the earth’s finite resources.

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Leachate

Leachate is the liquid created when rainwater washes through a landfill. As rain travels down through a landfill, it reacts with organic and non-organic materials which are dissolved, and a highly toxic substance called leachate is produced. Leachate is normally high in heavy metals, ammonia, toxic organic compounds and pathogens. This is not surprising considering what we still put in our landfills.

  • Decorating products (paints, stains, varnish, paint thinners)

  • Garden products (pesticides, fungicides, herbicides)

  • Vehicle products (engine oil, brake fluid, antifreeze, car batteries)

  • Household cleaners (bleach, disinfectant, air fresheners)

  • Toiletries (cosmetics, old medicines)

  • Batteries from watches, radios, mobile phones, which may contain heavy metals like mercury, nickel and cadmium.

Even though surrounding streams are often tested for leachate, it is better to dispose of the above materials appropriately, as we always risk contaminating rivers and streams nearby if it escapes into the groundwater, and once leachate escapes from a landfill it is almost impossible to contain. Please refer to our “What to recycle” tool on the top of the page for more information about where you can recycle these items.

Methane Gas

Methane gas is another significant problem for landfill sites. It is created when bacteria in the soil breaks down organic matter such as garden waste or food waste. Methane is a greenhouse gas, 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming. It is also highly explosive. If it seeps from the landfill and finds its way into a building it can build up unnoticed and eventually cause an explosion. The huge amounts of waste that are buried in landfill sites can mean that methane is produced for years after the site is closed, due to the waste slowly decaying under ground.

It is thought that even with the best landfill gas extraction systems installed, about half of the total methane produced by any landfill site escapes without being burnt. Even when methane is burnt, it creates carbon dioxide, which is also a greenhouse gas.

Reducing the amount of biodegradable waste we bury in landfill is crucial if we want to reduce the impact of global warming. We can all do our bit by either composting more, using a bokashi bin or taking part in your council’s food collection scheme if they have one.

In addition to leachate and methane gas, landfill sites are very unpopular with local residents: the traffic, smell, noise, vermin, seagulls, blown litter, and disease can all spoil the neighbourhood and lower property prices.

Environmental solutions to Landfill sites

The capacity of landfill sites is diminishing and European legislations such as the Landfill Directive, mean we must find environmental solutions for dealing with our waste. Although, currently sending our waste to landfill sites is the cheapest way of disposing of our rubbish, this is not sustainable as landfill taxes continue to rise in the UK.

Landfill Sites

The cost of sending our rubbish to landfills will continue to escalate, which will result in us paying more in council tax. If nothing is done now, we may even need to transport our waste outside of the country, which will further increase the cost of disposing of it.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

It's simple; the more we reduce, reuse and recycle, the less goes into landfill sites.

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Technological Innovation

Almost all of Leicester's waste, which would otherwise go into a landfill, is sent to their waste factory and processed through their ball mill. The plant has the capability of producing 1.5 megawatts per hour, which is equivalent to supplying 1500+ homes, through its methane extraction system. It also produces fertilizer from the waste collected. It is surprising that there are only just 7 waste factories like this in the UK!

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