Green Scene: Giving a second life to paper products
As you enter DeKalb County from the east via Interstate 88, you have most likely noticed a pipe sticking out of the ground at the landfill with a flame atop, like a beacon in the night. It is a gas flare, burning off landfill gas, which is a combination of carbon dioxide and methane. This combustible gas is burned off to eliminate the hazard of explosion as well as reduce odor.
Paper in a sanitary landfill can take up to 15 years to break down, and accounts for 28 percent of landfill content, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Through anaerobic decomposition, paper is broken down by naturally-occurring organisms in the soil and methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas, is produced.
Methane has 30 times the heat-trapping ability of carbon dioxide. Both gasses are major contributors to the “greenhouse effect” and global warming, which we are experiencing in the U.S. in the form of increasingly severe weather.
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