Q:

What are the advantages of burying waste in landfill sites?

A:

Quick Answer

Burying waste produces methane gas as the waste decomposes, and this gas has a number of uses in many industries and practices as well as in the generation of electricity through combustion. In general, burying waste is less efficient in the generation of power than the practice of burning the waste to power a turbine.

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Full Answer

Methane gas, as a byproduct of the waste burial process, is a valuable substance. Properly captured, it can be used as fuel in many different applications. It can also be used as a precursor in free radical chlorination, creating chloromethanes. It is not the ideal precursor for this process, that being methanol, but it does serve the purpose.

While methane is a valuable resource, burning garbage produces 10 times as much energy as burying it and capturing its byproducts. The primary gain is that methane can be captured, moved and stored more readily than the energy produced by burning trash. The emissions produced by the two processes are actually roughly equivalent, meaning there is no appreciable difference in the levels of pollution they engender.

While burning is typically the better option, situational modifiers and factors may elevate the practice of burial and capture, according to the EPA. These locations require site studies to identify viability and implement techniques.

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