What is a Hazardous Waste Landfill?

Harriette Halepis

A hazardous waste landfill is a type of facility that is reserved specifically for the disposal of toxic waste. Hazardous waste is treated, stored, and disposed of within a landfill. In almost every instance, these landfills must have proper government permits prior to operation. There are various types of hazardous waste landfills including caves, underground mines, salt beds, salt domes, and traditional facilities.

Nuclear waste is disposed of in specially constructed underground vaults.
Nuclear waste is disposed of in specially constructed underground vaults.

Hazardous waste comes from a number of sources including laboratories, factories, households, and construction sites. Since this waste is toxic and dangerous, it cannot be placed inside of a regular garbage facility. Oils, lubricants, solvents, chemicals, batteries, lead paint, and items containing mercury are just some of the materials that must be sent to a hazardous waste landfill. Essentially, any substance that is ignitable, corrosive, reactive, or otherwise toxic is considered hazardous waste. In most countries, containers that hold toxic substances must be clearly labeled prior to dumping.

Within North America, a hazardous waste landfill must meet strict governmental guidelines.
Within North America, a hazardous waste landfill must meet strict governmental guidelines.

Within North America, a hazardous waste landfill must meet strict governmental guidelines. These guidelines include outfitting all dumping areas with a double composite liner, so that waste does not seep into the ground causing harm. In addition, all liquids must be properly contained, and an efficient and functional waste detection system must be constructed.

While hazardous waste can be disposed of properly, there are also many different ways to reduce the amount of toxic waste produced. Homeowners can help reduce toxic waste by following a few steps. The use of any fertilizer that contains chemicals should be minimized, and all pesticide containers should be rinsed thoroughly before disposal.

Most importantly, hazardous waste should always be disposed of properly. Frequently, homeowners place toxic waste into regular garbage cans. When this happens, toxic substances cannot be sent to a hazardous waste landfill. Instead, these substances are mixed with non-toxic garbage, causing possible environmental damage.

Anyone who uses a lot of toxic substances may want to consider recycling them. By finding a person who uses the same chemicals, any unused portions can be shared with this person. This type of recycling can help reduce the amount of toxic waste that is produced.

Disposing of toxic waste by sending it to a hazardous waste landfill is environmentally responsible. Collection programs can be found by visiting a town or city government's website. Most cities have some type of collection process in place to help residents dispose of toxic waste properly.

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Discussion Comments


I really hope that hazardous waste landfill design is fully secure, for the sake of the people who have to live near them.

When I read about the poor folk who have been victims of toxic waste illegally dumped in their area I could weep. The penalties for this kind of dumping should reflect the long term health effects of illicit waste management.


@CaithnessCC - I agree with you that some people are simply unaware of how important this topic is. perhaps this applies more to seniors because the whole issue is relatively new.

One positive thing is that many companies are encouraging us to start recycling hazardous waste, by offering to part exchange things like fridges, smoke detectors and computers. Even a small discount for a trade in will mean more items are properly processed when they are no longer any use to us.

Someone should be advertising this kind of service to the public, perhaps in local newspapers and magazines.


I would bet that a lot of people don't think about separating household hazardous waste, because they just don't realize how wide the definition is.

My grandmother had no idea that batteries can't be thrown in with the regular garbage, and she got a bit panicky when I pointed it out to her, (and retrieved them from the trash can!)

It would help the public if there was more publicity on this matter, as well as clearly marked hazardous waste collection points in more places.

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