Community resources: Extending the life of the landfill

A Better You

Springfield, Mo. – The landfill might be one of those things we take for granted because it works so well. But one thing to know is that the landfill is not an unlimited resource. 

Community resources: What to expect and how to prepare for a trip to the landfill. 

Laurie Davis, the education outreach coordinator of the City of Springfield’s Environmental Services, has some tips: 

“Our landfill is a community resource that is easily and frequently overlooked. We throw things away without giving it a second thought but imagine the impact of not having a place for our trash to go. It would pile up very quickly,” Davis says. 

Davis says one of the most important things citizens should remember is the landfill will eventually reach capacity. 

Current estimates are that the landfill will have adequate space for approximately 75-100 years. But Davis says it’s not a matter of it, but when it will reach that capacity. And if we start to pay attention and do our part now, it could be extended to 100 years or more. 

“The citizens of today have the opportunity to impact the citizens of the future by finding ways to reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill now so that we can extend the available space perhaps longer than 100 years,” Davis says. 

Laurie’s Tips: 

What can we do at home to help with transportation? 

· Citizens can haul material to the landfill in a personal vehicle, but if you’re using a pickup truck to haul your trash, make sure that it’s secured en route – covering with a tarp and strapping everything in will prevent the garbage from escaping during the trip to the landfill.

· When you take material on your own to the landfill, you will be charged a $20 fee per vehicle. This fee contributes to operating the City’s recycling centers, yard waste recycling center and household chemical collection center.

· Once you arrive at the landfill’s trash collection area, you are responsible for emptying your load of materials.

There are some things that don’t belong at the landfill that we shouldn’t put in the curbside bin or take to the landfill. 

· You can avoid frustration, too, if you check ahead of time to make sure that what you are bringing up is indeed able to be deposited in the landfill— things like yard waste, appliances, flammable materials. There is an extensive list of waste not accepted on the environmental services website.

If you’re there and you see something in good condition? Can you take it home? 

· Once things are deposited in the landfill, it is a violation of state law to remove material. So, when you’re out dropping off your collection, if you were to see something that looks like it’s in excellent condition, you cannot take it. In addition to state law, the City’s top priority is its customers’ safety, and scavenging about in the landfill would create extremely hazardous conditions for both the customer and the staff. The bottom line is what goes to the landfill stays in the landfill.

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