Services of Transfer
Transfer stations are places where garbage trucks can temporarily dump their loads. Here, the trash is packed down and made ready for transport, and the trash is put into bigger trucks and taken to where it needs to go.
Places to recycle materials
Material recovery facilities, or MRFs, sort usable items from the trash before they reach their final destination. MRFs can be either clean or dirty. The recyclables that homes and businesses have already separated are taken to clean MRFs.
In dirty MRFs, recycling materials are processed along with trash, so more sorting has to be done by hand. Modern MRFs use magnets, shredders, and current separators (which sort ferrous and non-ferrous metals) to collect recyclables (for sorting ferrous and non-ferrous metals).
There are more than 3,000 working landfills in the United States, and about half of the trash that is made goes there.
What Happens to Trash in a Landfill
Landfills are made to hold trash, not to break it down. They are made of layers lined with clay and wrapped in a skin of flexible plastic. Each layer has drains and pipes that collect fluid contaminated by waste. When one layer is full, another sheet of plastic is put on top, then dirt and plants. In a landfill, trash will break down over time, but it will take a long time because there isn’t enough oxygen.
Facilities for recycling and composting
About 35% of all solid waste is sent to a facility for recycling or composting. Composting and recycling try to turn waste into new products that can use again. Recycling facilities often deal with aluminum, plastics, paper, and glass. On the other hand, composters use food and agricultural waste to make compost that the city and individuals can use.
Since the early 1980s, recycling and composting have grown by a certain amount each year, but the recycling rate has recently decreased. Even though these things are happening, many of America’s biggest cities have big recycling and composting programs, and many have plans to do the same.
Fires that burn trash
Trash incinerators are big industrial furnaces where trash from cities is burned, and they take care of 12.8% of the country’s MSW. In these facilities, the main combustion chambers work at 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to turn any amount of trash into ash.
Cutting the initial amount of trash by 95% reduces the need for a lot of landfill space. The extra heat from burning MSW can also make electricity and heat.
Organisms that digest
With the help of microbes, anaerobic digestion is a biological process that turns organic matter into energy and fertilizer. It is one way to turn trash into energy. Large tanks called anaerobic digesters are used for this process. Most of the time, they are found on farms, where there is a lot of organic garbage, but some will also pick up food waste from grocery stores, restaurants, and even whole towns.
Digesters are also used to make energy for the local power grid at plants that clean up wastewater. Instead of food or farm waste, wastewater treatment plants use sewage, which is full of organics, as a feedstock.