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15 Large Landfills Around the World With Photos and Statistics

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

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.

The Puente Hill Landfill in the Puente Hills of Eastern Los Angeles County, California.

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.

Fifteen of the Worlds Largest Landfills

NameLocationType#AcresTons Per DayTons 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

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.

Four Hills Landfill, Nashua, New Hampshire

Four Hills Landfill, Nashua, New Hampshire.

Four Hills Landfill, Nashua, New Hampshire.

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 groundwater 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.

Earlier I cited a source that claims we each produce 16.5 pounds of trash per day. As I consider my own contribution, I have to keep in mind, it is not only what goes into my home trash can. Some of it is left at work, more goes into the trash at the gasoline station while I pump the fuel. I also remember the dumpster outside my house when I had the roof replaced. That was my trash, and it must have had quite an impact on my average daily amount of trash. When I look at it in those terms, I get a more accurate picture of how much I am adding to waste disposal.

How Much Trash Do You Produce Per Day

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

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.

Our Garbage Taken Out of the Ocean

15-of-the-worlds-largest-landfills

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

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.

Questions & Answers

Question: I have been a very active recycler all my life. But I also am aware of how big the trash problem really is. My question is, does it really matter? The population will continue to increase, and there will just be more and more waste.

Answer: This is a good question and an honest question. My first response is that we as individuals and as nations should never make decisions based on cynicism and futility. This would lead to throwing caution to the wind and living lives of wastefulness. Our waste does not only end up in landfills; it ends up in the ocean as well where animals are now dying at an increasing rate because they mistake our trash for food. https://www.livescience.com/62743-pilot-whale-dies...

Landfills are a necessity. They must be monitored so that they are following the strictest rules to prevent groundwater contamination.

The packaging of so many of the things we purchase is a complete waste of resources and strains our ability to dispose of them.

Plastic grocery bags are trashing our environment and killing innocent animals. I kayak the riverways all across the US. I see the tattered bags hanging from the branches of trees lining the rivers. After the water levels recede following the spring rains and snowmelt, the bags are left in the branches of the trees. Is the convenience of how we transport our groceries more important than being good caretakers of the natural world?

Yes, it matters.

© 2013 Chris Mills

Comments

Sreenija on April 15, 2020:

Is West New Territories landfill still active?

Gman101010 on April 15, 2019:

There is a landfill in Rockford, IL growing exponentially overnight it's up to 11,000 tons a day, 500 trucks a day. The area around it is full of litter for miles from trucks not covered and the stench is waking up families vomiting at night. The have been out of EPA compliance for 3+ years, lost 2 lawsuits, paid fines of hundreds of thousands of $ and continued to expand. There is a 2nd landfill nearly as large down the road governed by a neighboring county. How do people fight their county board from allowing this pollution to continue to ruin their homes? The EPA has been involved has an open case but strangely there seems to be no teeth there either.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on March 27, 2019:

Star citizen, what information would you like to read? Give me an idea of what's on your mind. I'm always happy to update my articles with more information.

Star citizen on March 27, 2019:

Add more information

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 29, 2015:

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

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on November 29, 2015:

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!

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 29, 2015:

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

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 29, 2015:

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

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on November 29, 2015:

Interesting hub and congrats for HOTD!

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on October 30, 2014:

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.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on October 30, 2014:

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.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on December 12, 2013:

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.

Ann Carr from SW England on December 07, 2013:

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

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on December 06, 2013:

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.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on December 06, 2013:

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.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on December 06, 2013:

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.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on December 06, 2013:

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.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on December 06, 2013:

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...

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on December 06, 2013:

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 on December 06, 2013:

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.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 06, 2013:

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.

Ann Carr from SW England on December 06, 2013:

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?!

Ann Carr from SW England on December 06, 2013:

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

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on December 05, 2013:

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

Jamie Lee Hamann from Reno NV on December 05, 2013:

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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