Where does your garbage go? Glanbrook Landfill Part 1by Waste Management | 272 days ago | 2255 page views
Topics: Your City
In: TheSpecTV, TheSpecTV Around Town
As the garbage truck drives away with your weekly trash, have you ever stopped to consider where it goes? Dennis Guy, project manager of Waste Management admits that most people are content to put their garbage out and have it disappear. For those of you who worry about the final resting place of your trash, rest assured that the City of Hamilton takes garbage very seriously. In fact, the whole waste management process is extremely involved.
The journey begins once you’ve hauled your garbage to the curb. After the truck picks it up, it goes to the transfer station where it’s dumped onto a big floor called a tipping floor. The trucks have walking floors, which are long metal slats that move back and forth to help inch the garbage out.
“From there, a compactor pushes the waste around and spreads it out,” Guy says, adding that the compactor is equipped with huge metal wheels with spikes. The machine weighs more than 50 tonnes, and as it drives over the pile of garbage, it crushes and grinds the waste. It’s then scooped up with a front-end loader and put into tractor trailers, which haul the waste to the landfill. Before entering the landfill, the trucks are weighed to track how much garbage is being dumped at the site.
While most people tend to think the transfer station and landfill are very stinky places, Guys reports that it’s not as smelly as you would imagine.
“The transfer station has more odour than the landfill does, but as we see organic material come out of the garbage and go into a green cart, all that’s left is dry stuff so there’s really no smell to it.” The City of Hamilton’s green cart program has the potential to divert more than 43 per cent of current waste ending up in the landfill. If you add the 42 per cent of waste that is recyclable in your blue boxes, only 15 per cent of your household garbage should be going to the landfill.
The landfill site is located on 220 hectares of land, but only 63 hectares are used to store garbage. The rest of the land acts as a buffer between the landfill and neighbouring communities. The landfill itself is divided into cells. Since opening in the 1980s, cell one has been filled and covered, and now cell two is being used. The third cell is currently being prepared to accept garbage in the next five to ten years.
Every day after the garbage has been dumped; a six-inch layer of a mixture of clay and woodchips is used to cover the waste to prevent material from blowing around. Each morning the ‘daily cover’ has to be skimmed off before more garbage is added to the site.
Most people envision a landfill with birds scavenging for a tasty morsel, but according to Guy, there aren’t as many birds as you would think.
“We certainly have birds, but we have the Bird Man who comes in three to four times a week with hawks.” The hawks scare the other birds away. Windy days can shuffle a lot of debris around, so the landfill incorporates a few different techniques to combat this problem.
“It’s a pretty complex litter collection system. On a windy day you have a lot of things blowing around like plastic bags,” Guys says. Long metal screens on wheels are used to catch flying rubbish at the tipping floor. A fence around the landfill also helps prevent garbage from being thrown around. The side of the landfill that is bombarded with prevailing winds has a higher fence installed to collect escaping debris.
For more information on the City of Hamilton’s landfills, visit www.hamilton.ca/waste.