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What is Landfill?

Landfill is when we dispose of our waste by burying it in the land. Landfills used to just be big holes in the ground that waste would be tipped into, but now they are very carefully managed to prevent our waste releasing harmful gases and poisoning our ground water.

Until recently in Devon, all the rubbish taken from people's homes (that cannot be recycled or composted) went to one of three landfill sites; Heathfield near Kingsteignton (which then closed in January 2016), Broadpath near Uffculme and Deep Moor near Great Torrington. From January 2019, all waste that is not recycled or composted in Devon goes to a Energy from Waste plant and used to make electricity. This means that no more waste is being sent to landfill! 

Landfills are constructed a bit like a pie: the ‘pastry’ around the outside is made from thick rubber sheeting to keep everything contained, and the ‘filling’ is made from the rubbish inside. When rubbish is unloaded from lorries, vehicles called compacters level out the piles. These can weigh up to 45 tonnes and they drive on top of the rubbish to squash as much of it into the ‘pie’ as possible. This means that all the air is squashed out and the conditions within the rubbish become anaerobicwithout oxygen.

Teachers

To find out more about what is being thrown into 'general waste' at your school, why not organise a waste audit and use the follow on activities to teach the kids about the importance of being aware of what goes into the black bin.