What are the time frames and costs associated with conventional landfills?

Once landfills are filled or closed, municipalities simply take over new land and begin a new wasteland at a post-closure cost such as the mandatory landfill capping expense of approximately $350,000 per acre, with an additional 30+ years of monitoring needed. With the average landfill covering 33 acres, it takes $11,550,000 to cap the landfill and then add 30+ years of monitoring costs to make sure the landfill does not contaminate the surrounding environment. [5]

The United States ranked among the nations with the highest greenhouse gas emissions per person in 2020. The US posted a total of 5.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, second only to China. China is thought to have produced 27% of the global GHG emissions in 2019, followed by the US with 11% and India with 6.6%. The US had the highest annual greenhouse gas emissions per person among the top eight emitters, with annual emissions of over 15 tons per person. [9]

Significant technological upgrades and modernization of US-based conventional landfills are long overdue. The continuation of waste management in conventional ways, despite efforts to fully recycle, directly translates to growth in the number of landfills and costs incurred to maintain them over time, even when they become filled and non-functional. Methane emissions continue to ravage the environment decades after the landfills are capped.

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