Solid waste is the term civil engineers use to refer to what most of us call garbage. Municipal solid waste is something very familiar to us. It comes from households, institutions and business. While many normal activities are suspended during holidays and weekends, the flow of garbage is non-stop. Some holidays such as Christmas create an enormous amount of solid waste. .
There are essentially four ways to deal with garbage: 1) recycle it into something that can be used again, 2) dump it, 3) burn it, or 4) reduce the source if material products in order to eliminate future garbage. Recycling is really making a difference. Newspapers, which used to make up 25-40 percent of the garbage volume of a typical city, are now effectively banned from household garbage. Aluminum can recycling has also become a profitable sideline, both for economically disadvantaged and for the average homeowner trying to offset the ever-increasing cost of garbage collection. Construction waste is now barred from landfills in most locales; this high volume material is now recycled or put to Earth-friendly uses. Composting or yard and agricultural wastes, is a method of recycling and/or reducing both mass and volume of these wastes to zero if they are reapplied to the soil (Moore 62). Throughout history, dumping has been the preferred means of disposal. Today, landfills are the primary method for the disposal of garbage. .
The Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island is the largest landfill in the world. It has an elevation of 155 feet and has an estimated mass at 100 million tons and a volume of 2.9 billion cubic feet. By the year 2005, when the landfill is projected to close it's elevation will reach 505 feet, making it the highest elevation on the eastern seaboard form Florida to Maine (Moore 68). On a local view, the tallest Butte in Butte County is the Neal Road landfill. A modern state-of-the-art landfill is a graveyard for garbage, where deposited wastes are compacted, spread in thin layers, and covered daily with clay or synthetic foam.