Dumping solvents into septic systems or landfills can contaminate ground and surface water, ruining drinking water and killing fish and wildlife. Pesticides can damage wastewater treatment plants, and oil that is poured into storm drains can flow directly into streams and ponds. In addition, recycling can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. When hazardous waste is recycled, less energy is needed to obtain raw materials and manufacture products.
When energy demand decreases, fewer fossil fuels are burned and fewer greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere, which can help reduce the impacts of climate change and air pollution. It is necessary to consider the long-term effect that these wastes have on a personal, local, national and global level. For example, on our blog Waste Conversion: Our Responsibility to Future Generations, we analyzed Emelle, Alabama. In 1978, Chemical Waste Management purchased a landfill for a 300-acre piece of land near the village of Emelle.
Since the landfill was acquired, millions of tons of hazardous waste have been dumped on former farmland, creating the largest hazardous waste landfill in the United States. The landfill now occupies 2,700 acres and is located directly above the Eutaw aquifer, which supplies water to much of Alabama. The Emelle landfill isn't the only one of its kind, but it's certainly the largest in the United States. If hazardous waste continues to be disposed of improperly, this landfill will continue to grow or more waste of the same type could be created.
Companies that specialize in the disposal and management of hazardous waste make it a priority to burn chemical waste or treat it in a way that reduces any potential damage they may cause to the environment. Whenever you're about to throw something in the trash, take a moment to determine if it's toxic. If you throw this item in the trash, keep in mind that you are taking steps to create a hazardous waste landfill in your backyard. Is this how you want to leave this country for your children and grandchildren?.