Improving waste deposits
Large volumes of household and municipal waste are still deposited in landfills every year, despite waste separation followed by recycling and incineration.
Likewise, many industrial processes, in particular in the mineral and mining industry, produce great quantities of waste rock that are also deposited in landfills. Such landfills become part of the hydrogeological system into which they have been deposited, and unless sufficient seals are in place, waste material may leach chemical into the surrounding environment.
The environmental impacts of landfills may be decreased in two manners. Firstly, a better understanding of how a landfill participates in the hydrogeological system is necessary for improved sealing of the waste in the landfill. This may help improve future landfill site preparation, but will also help mitigate problems in current landfills, such as landfill gas, the leaching of, for example, heavy metals, and unknown quantities and locations of dangerous waste. Secondly, the total amount of waste stored in landfills must be minimized, for example by finding industrial applications, where possible, for often valuable minerals and materials that are currently being deposited.