Disposal of waste in a landfill involves burying the waste and this remains a common practice in Ontario. Landfills have been used to fill in abandoned or unused quarries and mining operations.
A well designed and well-managed landfill can be a hygienic and relatively inexpensive method of disposing of waste materials. An older, poor designed or un-managed landfill can generate environmental impacts like wind-blown litter, the attraction of vermin, and generation of leachate. Another common product of landfills is methane and carbon dioxide, which is produced as organic waste breaks down. This gas can cause odor problems, kill surface vegetation and is an undesirable greenhouse gas.
The design of a modern landfill in Ontario will include methods to contain leachate such as clay and plastic lining material. Dumped waste is normally compacted to increase its density and stability and then covered with soil to prevent attracting mice or rats.
The newer landfills have gas extraction systems installed to extract the landfill gas. Gas is pumped out of the landfill using perforated pipes and then is flared off or utilized in a gas powered generator to produce electricity needed at the landfill.
They don’t tell you that the raw materials, oil and natural gas, from whose byproducts plastic carryout bags are made, were in the ground for thousands if not millions of years. So all that we are doing is putting back into the ground what we extracted from it in the first place, but we put it back in a different and more stable form.