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The Worlds Largest Landfills With Photos and Stats

Updated on March 9, 2016
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Science, nature and the environment, with regard to human impact, are subjects to which Chris applies his passions for research and writing.

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Landfills Around the World

This article describes 15 of the world's largest landfills including, location, tons of garbage per day, tons per year and involvement in green technology.

South East New Territories Landfill, Hong Kong

Source

My early recollections of a landfill or “The Dump” as we used to call it back home, are of trying to kill the rats that seemed to be everywhere. My more recent trips to these places we love to hate, but can’t seem to get along without, have been much less dramatic, or traumatic, depending on how you feel about rats. We used to drive right out into the dump, back up to the edge of the abyss, and throw everything overboard. Now we are directed to “the big blue container on the left please.” Actually, I’m more than happy to let someone else have all the fun when it comes to wandering around landfills.

I’m not going to use this article about the world's largest landfills to rant and rave about garbage dumps or even to promote recycling. I’m simply going to share some information with you. Intelligent adults can do a lot of positive things with pure information. But those same folks don’t like being manipulated by someone with a hidden, or even an obvious, agenda.

So here is some pure information I have been able to collect about the worlds largest landfills. I encourage you to spend a few minutes on the chart. I am purposely keeping further comments to a minimum so that you are free to draw your own conclusions. If you are unable to see some of the chart on one side or the other, you should be able to move it back and forth with your cursor.

Waimanalo Gulch Landfill Near Honolulu, Hawaii

Modern landfill operation at Waimanalo Gulch, the municipal sanitary landfill for the City & County of Honolulu.
Modern landfill operation at Waimanalo Gulch, the municipal sanitary landfill for the City & County of Honolulu. | Source

Fifteen of the Worlds Largest Landfills

Name
Location
Type
#Acres
Tons Per Day
Tons Per Year (Millions)
"Green" Involvement
Bordo Poniente Landfill
Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico (Mexico City)
Municipal solid waste
927
12,000
4.4
Methane to energy
Apex Regional Landfill
Las Vegas, Nevada
Municipal solid waste
2200
10,500
3.8
Methane to energy
Sudokwon Landfill
Incheon, South Korea
Municipal solid waste
570
18,000-20,000
6.9
Methane to energy
Puente Hills Landfill
Los Angeles, California
Municipal solid waste
630
10,300
3.6
Methane to energy
Laogang Landfill
Laogang Landfill
Municipal solid waste
1000+
6,000-10,000
3
Methane to energy
Lagos Dumpsites
Lagos, Nigeria
Municipal solid waste
100
9,000
3.3
Methane to energy
Xingfeng Landfill
Guangzhou, China
Municipal solid waste
 
6,000-8,000
2.5
Leachate collection/treatment and methane recovery
Sao Joao Landfill
São Paulo, Brazil
Municipal solid waste
150
7,000
2.5
Methane to energy
Delhi Landfills
Delhi/New Delhi, India
Municipal solid waste
500
6,000
2.2
Methane to energy
West New Territories Landfill
Hong Kong
Municipal solid waste
?
6,200
 
Methane to energy
Malagrotta Landfill
Rome
Municipal solid waste
680
4,000
2.3
Methane to energy
Mumbai Landfills
Mumbai, India
Municipal solid waste
?
4,000-7,000
2
Methane to energy
Guiyu E-waste Dumpsites
Guiyu, China
Electronic
?
4,100
1.5
--
Dandora Dumpsite
Nairobi, Kenya
Industrial, agricultural, and hospital waste
30
2,000
0.75
Methane to energy
Guatemala City dump
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Open dump; includes medical waste
40
500
0.18
Methane to energy

Four Hills Landfill, Nashua, New Hampshire

Four Hills Landfill, Nashua, New Hampshire.
Four Hills Landfill, Nashua, New Hampshire. | Source

How Much Trash Do You Produce Per Day

Do you believe you personally produce 16.5 pounds of trash every day?

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Garbage, Garbage Everywhere

I want to emphasize a couple of the columns in the chart. The first is the one labeled "Tons Per Day." Apex Regional Landfill in Nevada takes in 10,500 tons of garbage per day. Let me calculate it another way. That is 21,000,000 pounds of trash every day at just one landfill. Granted it is one of the worlds largest landfills.

In the same way, notice the column labeled "Tons Per Year." Apex Regional Landfill takes in 3,800,000 tons of trash per year. That is 7,600,000,000 pounds of garbage at one landfill.

The William J. Clinton Foundation and C40 Cities

Landfills seem to be necessary evils, a plague upon humanity for which we have no antidote, treatment, immunization or cure. So what does a city, state, nation, world do about this issue? According to the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (an initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation), each American produces 16.5 pounds of trash per day, and there are about 314 million of us. That is 5,181,000,000 pounds of trash every day that need to be disposed of in some way.

The William J. Clinton Foundation, by means of its C40 Cities campaign, seeks, among other things, to curb air and ground water pollution in major cities around the world. One specific area of emphasis is landfills. Leachate is a liquid produced by landfills that seeps into the groundwater. Methane is a gas that pollutes the air, and many believe contributes to climate change. An estimate which I could not verify, is that there are 33 to 77 million tons of methane being released into the atmosphere from landfills each year.

Many of the worlds largest landfills represented in the chart above are part of the Clinton Foundation C40 campaign to deal with the unique problems which landfills create.

Landfill in Perth, Western Australia

Active tipping area of an operating landfill in Perth, Western Australia
Active tipping area of an operating landfill in Perth, Western Australia | Source

The Sources of Methane

Landfill gas is what you smell whenever you get near a landfill. It is made up of 50% methane and 50%, CO2. Methane levels are 150% higher today then they were in 1750. Here are a few sources of methane on the earth according to NASA:

  • Wetlands-22%
  • Coal/oil/natural gas mining-19%
  • Enteric Fermentation (Animal burping and farting)-16%
  • Rice Cultivation-12%
  • Biomass burning (forest and grass fires)-8%
  • Landfills-6%
  • Sewage treatment-5%
  • Animal waste-5%
  • Termites-4%
  • Oceans-3%

Mining fossil fuels and the natural breaking down of waste in landfills are the two human sources of methane. Well, those and enteric fermentation.

Puente Hills Landfill, Los Angeles County

Puente Hills Landfill in Los Angeles County is 630 acres and takes in 10,300 tons of garbage per day  equalling 3.6 million tons per year.
Puente Hills Landfill in Los Angeles County is 630 acres and takes in 10,300 tons of garbage per day equalling 3.6 million tons per year. | Source

Are you willing to change your lifestyle in order to produce less trash?

Has the information in this article influenced you to seek ways to reduce the amount of trash you produce daily?

See results

What Can I Do?

I think it’s fair to say that most of us would like to see the obvious problems presented in this article disappear. But the sad fact is, we have to put our garbage someplace, right? And no matter how much recycling we do, there will always be a lot of trash going to “The Dump.”

I wonder if I could reduce my 16.5 pound share of trash per day? Maybe I'll just sit back, drink a bottle of pop, munch on a bag of pretzels and think about that a bit. As I look around me right now, I can see what would amount to a very large heap of trash, things I fully intend to throw away sooner or later. Does it have to be this way?

I'd like to invite you to share in the comment section of this hub, your ideas about how to reduce the amount of trash we as individuals produce. But also feel free to comment in any way you choose.

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    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 18 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Kristen, thanks for stopping by and reading my hub. I'm happy to finally have a HOTD.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 18 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Chris, congrats on HOTD! This is an interesting hub about landfills around the world and how we can improve the planet. Thanks for sharing this hub with us!

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 18 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      HubPages staff, thank you for recognizing my hub today. This was a very nice surprise.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 18 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      word55 thank you. I just saw this in my email. I appreciate the visit.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 18 months ago from Chicago

      Interesting hub and congrats for HOTD!

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Sunshine, it sounds like you've got as nice a landfill as a community could ask for. There are some pretty bad ones out there, especially in some of the developing countries. Thanks for reading.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I bet many people who read this article will reconsider all the waste they produce and chances are they will try their best to reduce it! I have a large landfill by our community...it's well kept and actually a very nice landscape. Driving by it you would never know it was a landfill, it's a nice view and there are no odors. Not sure how much trash they collect there.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      All things considered, methane produced by dumps is very small in the scheme of things. Why? Because most of them are able to RECYCLE it. Yes, it powers like electricity. Many of the Amish rely on methane for an alternate source of energy. It wouldn't hurt to harness that power in our daily lives, too. Tax incentives, Mr.President? Give me a call, I'll be glad to help out in the Department of Energy.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      You're so right about electronic waste. We feed the market because we demand the latest and the best all the time, discarding those we already have which usually are perfectly adequate. Is that keeping up with the Joneses or is it greed or is it competitiveness? I know that when I was little if I had a present like that it would have been cherished, appreciated and kept for ever; that is no longer the philosophy. The materialistic society is king, to the detriment of pride in possessions and appreciation of what our relatives and friends can afford to give us.

      Sorry, getting into a rant here so will stop before I pick up speed......!! Ann

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Ruby, you are right. We do focus on the solid waste and think of it as something that is inert. But sadly it is not. It is poisoning ground water in the vicinity of the landfills. Is that acceptable to us? I think we have to start with producing less trash. We have to quit feeding the beast at some point. Work is being done to clean up the messes worldwide, but then those cities just go open another landfill. I'm not faulting them. Right now that's all we've got. But someday that luxury will disappear.

    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Susan, yes it is a big number. The good old USA leads the world in this category. Packaging will eventually be regulated to eliminate over packaging. I think a lot of packaging has to do with preventing shoplifting. Thanks for your comments. It's always nice to see you here on my hubs.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Thanks for reading this messy hub, Bill. Yes, wasteful, but it is still a treatable condition I believe. We don't have to give up everything, but some changes will definitely need to be made to reduce how much junk we produce.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Ann, Mucking Marshes. That is the perfect name for a landfill site. Thanks for all the great input here. I left my opinions out of the hub, but I will share freely in the comments. I don't think recycling can be the whole answer here. I really do believe that globally we are going to have to look at the fundamentals of multiple billions of people living in a finite space. There is plenty of room on the planet for us, but that won't make much difference if we trash the place. The answer is dealing with or attitudes. Apple released three versions of the iPad in about nine months some time back. That's fine, except that eventually those things will be junk. The same goes for laptops, desktops, cell phones, and all the other electronic devices we buy. I did not focus on electronic waste here, but I'm thinking of writing a hub on the subject. Packaging is another place where so much trash could be eliminated. Thanks again for all you have shared.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I am thankful for trash pickup. What would we do without it? I never thought about the chemicals it produces. Now, i am thinking what we could do to eliminate the hazards. This took some work to put this together. Thank you for that...

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      I can't comment on each comment now, but thank you Ann, Bill and Susan for your feedback. I appreciate it as always.

    • Susan S Manning profile image

      Susan S Manning 3 years ago

      Sixteen and a half pounds? That number is a little hard to believe, then I remembered taking out the garbage in restaurants. Combine household waste plus all the waste we leave behind us that somebody else takes out, it's not so hard to believe anymore.

      I was watching a movie from Argentina yesterday, and there was a scene in a grocery store. I couldn't help but notice the packaging is so much different than what we see in US grocery stores. We seem to be more impressed with big packaging than those in other parts of the world. I have to wonder how much difference all that extra packaging makes. It would make a noticeable difference in my own garbage can. I'd happily give up all that extra packaging.

      Very informative hub. I like that you weren't lecturing about recycling, just providing information to give us some perspective. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Now there is a topic you don't see every day. :) Very interesting, actually. We certainly are a wasteful society, are we not? Thanks for the wake-up call my friend.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Just found that 'According to the BBC, the biggest landfill site in the UK and Europe is Greengairs in Scotland. Handling 750 000 tonnes of waste a year, the site covers 40 hectares, (400 000m2)'. Doesn't come near some of yours, does it?!!

      Another site is called - wait for it - 'Mucking Marshes'. How's that for a great name?!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Lots of info here and you've done just what you said at the start; presented it all without any bias. It's very good to have all this information at our fingertips.

      I don't know where the largest landfill in the UK is but I'm off to find out in a minute. What annoys me is that we make a big effort to recycle and we don't eat many fast foods or pre-packed foods; then I learn that sometimes it's all bunged into a cart that takes it up north to a large landfill, so why am I bothering?! I do still bother but it makes you wonder. Also, there are different recycling policies depending on the county in which you live. It's also different in another country - France, for example.

      So who's got it right?

      Interesting to see that landfill comes way down the list and I love the category 'enteric fermentation'; why does nobody like to use the words 'burp' and 'fart'?!

      Great hub. Up, useful, interesting and sharing. Ann

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Thanks Jamie. I just published it a few minutes ago. Thanks for reading, and I appreciate the comments.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      The tables that you create in your hubs are very well put together with so much information in such a concise format. Excellent work and a great read to boot. Thank you for a great hub. Jamie

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