Landfill Sites; How to Get Rid of Them?

By:     Kieran Donnelly

A shocking 2 billion tons of waste are placed into landfill sites around the world every year. It’s a massive global waste problem and a practice that is not sustainable or environmentally friendly.

In this article, we’ll discuss why landfill sites should be avoided at all costs and ways in which landfill sites can be decommissioned by pursuing alternative methods for waste management.

At Gradeall, we manufacture practical solutions that contribute to the global effort for pursuing recycling methods and better waste management practices. We are committed to a sustainable future that is supported by industry-leading equipment such as waste compactors, balers and specialist waste machinery.

Why are landfill sites so bad?

Landfill sites can be incredibly dangerous and hazardous due to several factors that are primarily related to environmental and health concerns.

Picture1 3

Austria, Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands are among the first countries that have implemented a landfill ban, which indicates a promising start for eradicating this waste management practice.

Many other countries are also showing progress by banning certain waste such as end-of-road tyres from landfill sites, as they have been shown to leach toxic chemicals and take hundreds of years to decompose.

Landfills problems

Here are some reasons why landfills are considered hazardous and dangerous:

Landfill gas

When organic waste decomposes in a landfill, it releases methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Landfills also emit other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants, which can have adverse effects on the surrounding air quality and negatively impact human health.

Landfill leachate

Landfills generate leachate, which is a liquid that forms as rainwater filters through the waste. Leachate contains potentially harmful substances that can seep into the soil, this can cause several negative side effects, including:

  • Water contamination
  • Reduced quality of soil fertility
  • Damage to ecosystems

Landfill leachate can also pose risks to human health if the food grown in contaminated soil is ingested. Depending on the type and concentration of contaminants, potential health risks can include respiratory problems, skin irritation, gastrointestinal issues, neurological disorders, organ damage, and an increased risk of cancer.

Fire hazards

Landfills contain a combination of waste materials, including flammable items such as chemicals, plastics, tyres and other combustible materials.

These conditions make landfills prone to fires that can release toxic smoke and pollutants into the air. Landfill fires are challenging to extinguish and can burn for long periods, posing risks to nearby communities, emergency responders, and the environment.

Odour and vermin

Landfills emit strong odours due to the decomposition of organic waste. These odours can be unpleasant for nearby residents and affect their quality of life. Landfills can also attract vermin, such as rats, mosquitoes and flies, which can lead to additional public health concerns such as increased cases of malaria.

Aesthetics and property value

Landfills are visually unappealing and can negatively impact the aesthetics of an area. The presence of a landfill in proximity to residential or commercial areas can lower property values and hinder economic development.

It’s important to note that modern landfill management practices, regulations, and technologies aim to mitigate these risks. However, the potential hazards associated with landfills underscore the importance of waste reduction, recycling, and exploring alternative waste management strategies.

Finding a solution to landfills waste management

Getting rid of landfills completely is a complex and challenging task. However, there are several strategies and practices that can help minimize reliance on landfills and reduce their environmental impact.

Waste reduction and recycling

The most effective way to minimize landfill waste is to reduce the amount of waste generated in the first place.

This can be achieved through initiatives such as recycling, waste reduction programs, and encouraging sustainable consumption practices. By maximizing recycling methods and diverting waste from landfills, the overall volume of waste requiring disposal can be reduced.

At Gradeall, we have developed industry-leading equipment such as the tire recycling range of machinery. This provides a practical solution to recycling waste that otherwise would have taken hundreds of years to decompose whilst posing environmental threats.


Organic waste, such as food scraps, and wood waste, make up a significant portion of landfill waste.

Implementing composting programs can divert this organic waste from landfills and instead transform it into nutrient-rich compost that can be used for gardening and agriculture. Composting reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills while also providing a valuable resource for soil fertility.

Waste-to-energy facilities

Waste-to-energy facilities, such as incineration plants, can help reduce the volume of waste going to landfills by converting it into energy.

These facilities use controlled combustion processes to generate heat and electricity from waste materials. One example is tyre-derived fuel (TDF) which converts waste tyres as an alternative fuel source for cement kilns.

While waste-to-energy facilities can be controversial due to emissions and environmental concerns, modern technologies aim to minimise this pollution and maximize energy recovery.

Landfill gas capture

Landfills produce methane gas as organic waste decomposes. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Landfill gas capture systems can collect and extract methane from landfills, which can then be used as a renewable energy source or safely flared off. By capturing methane, the environmental impact of landfills can be reduced.

Landfill diversion programs

Some regions have implemented landfill diversion programs that encourage proper waste sorting and recycling. These programs often involve separate collection streams for recyclables, organic waste, hazardous materials, and other categories.

At Gradeall, we support this initiative with waste management machinery that has been expertly designed to handle specific types of waste, i.e.) the Large Glass Crusher, Can Baler, MK2 Tyre Baler, etc. We aim to create solutions that promote responsible and sustainable waste management practices.

Getting rid of landfill sites

It’s important to note that transitioning away from landfill sites requires a comprehensive and integrated approach that involves a combination of waste reduction, recycling and alternative waste management practices.

Picture2 1

Government policies, legal regulations, public awareness and participation also play a significant role in achieving landfill reduction goals. If you would like to discuss enhancing the waste management process within your operation, you can always contact a member of the Gradeall team for expert support and guidance.

Picture1 3

← Back to news