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Solid Waste Disposal Strategy Report Summary

solidwaste3Recently, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency projected only eight more years of landfillcapacity in northeastern Illinois.This is the most imminent landfill expiration date in the state, 39 years closer than southern Illinois'. The simple solution is to dig more landfills or ship more garbage to Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin – even New Jersey. But effective solid waste management is not simple; its sustainable success depends on an array of policies and practices that prevent waste, reuse waste, recycle waste, burn waste, compost waste – and yes, bury waste. The following strategyreport –informed by academic research and the expertise of the Illinois Counties Solid Waste Management Association – explores one region's trash, and the disposal methods necessary to ensure that northeastern Illinois remains another generation's treasure. For analysis purposes, addressing solid waste disposal = optimizing (in terms of equity, efficiency, and environmental stewardship) the pick-up, hauling, and treatment of refuse.

A sample of findings:

Primary Environmental Impacts

Depending on the waste disposal practice, the impacts of management will vary:

  • The environmental effects of landfilling include hazardous gas emissions, water quality/contamination, energy consumption, natural habitat degradation, and biodegradation.
  • The environmental impacts of recycling include reduction in landfill space consumed, reduction in raw materials consumed, litter, and energy consumption.

  • The environmental impacts of composting include fertilization and reduction of landfill space consumed.

Primary Economic Impacts

Depending on the waste disposal practice, the impacts of management will vary:

  • The economic effects of landfilling include siting resistance and regulation and disposal costs.
  • The economic impacts of recycling include production costs, capital and employment, collection/sorting costs.
  • The economic impacts of composting include compost market and waste separation.

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