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November 11th, 2013:

Largest American landfill shuts down while HK plans to expand existing landfills

The largest American landfill, located at Puente Hills in Southern California, has been closed down.

While its closure has been an admistrative certainty – a decision made in 2003 – what made it possible is the recycling efforts that goes into sorting trash. In addition to residential efforts, privately-operated waste disposal companies operate their own recycling facilities, which ensures that the maximum amount of recyclables is extracted and exported for re-use in manufacturing. The landfill thus saw its input drastically reduced from 13,200 tons a day in 2003, to 7,500 tons a day in 2013 – a number that can be handled by alternative facilities, avoiding a ‘trash’ crisis when the landfill closed.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, officials are pushing to expand its existing landfills, paying lip service to the concerns voiced by nearby residents about the impact on their living environment. To make matters worse, their insistence in building an incinerator as the future go-to facility for trash disposal not only threatens to render recycling efforts redundant (since incinerators will need to take the recyclables and additional fuel to combust waste), it will continue to feed the necessity for landfilling, in order to dispose of the highly toxic ash produced at the end of incineration – an even more harmful substance to be landfilled than normal trash.

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