Do landfills take away our land that could be used for other purposes?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Landfills do not always take away land—in some circumstances landfills bury the trash. In time, nature can come back and grass and wildlife will return to the area. Biodegradable parts of trash will turn into nutrient-rich soil. Old landfills are often capped by a layer of clay and then topped...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Landfills do not always take away land—in some circumstances landfills bury the trash. In time, nature can come back and grass and wildlife will return to the area. Biodegradable parts of trash will turn into nutrient-rich soil. Old landfills are often capped by a layer of clay and then topped off by a layer of topsoil. The landfill can then be used as a recreational area. Native plants are often resilient, and many can survive in and around landfills. Birds and other animals will then come to the area. It took the Alliance Landfill in Taylor, Pennsylvania two years to return to a relative state of nature.

One new option for landfill use is renewable energy production. Solar panels and wind turbines can be placed in the area in order to generate cheap electricity without the use of fossil fuels. This option requires significant study of the soil in and around the landfill, since landfills have a tendency to settle over time as trash breaks down. When the trash settles, it can damage expensive solar panels.

Landfills could potentially have chemicals that could leach into groundwater or food crops; therefore, nothing food-producing should be placed on top of or near a landfill. Landfills have many other valuable uses—as recreational areas, natural parks, or renewable energy providers. The major consideration to keep in mind while reusing a landfill is soil settlement that occurs as the trash decomposes.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team