Top 10 Garbage Dumps
The Best Trash Heaps
All over the world, folks tend to prefer their garbage in heaping piles. When given the opportunity, we stack it, compress it, transport it, and centralize it for the benefit of all mankind. Recycling helps reduce the total volume of garbage. Bulldozers tamp it down into pulverized mountains of dirty diapers and Christmas wrapping paper. Exotic scavenger birds build new ecosystems based on discarded food bits.
We salute the Top 10 Garbage Dumps, as chosen by our panel of experts. Read onward to learn how these amazing towers of trash contribute to the betterment of society, even if they really stink.
We apologize to the communities that were omitted from our list. Keep generating refuse: someday you may see yourselves represented here.
Mt. Rumpke in Cincinnati, Ohio
This guy named Rumpke (last name, not first name) came up with a genius idea. Many years ago he opened one of his fields to local residents. He charged them a small fee to dump their garbage. The concept was simple enough, but he added a twist. He charged other folks a small fee to pick through the garbage for 'valuables'. This guy made money on both ends.
These days, Mt. Rumpke is one of the highest points in the county. The Rumpke Company charges residents to send a truck to their house and haul away their garbage. They also charge a fee for picking up recyclables, which is a separate trip by an altogether different truck.
Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch
If you've ever dropped a plastic bottle into a river, chances are that you may be able to find it again in the world's largest garbage dump. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch collects plastic odds and ends from all corners of the globe. Convenient currents sweep detritus from beaches and river deltas in to an immense accumulation of horrifying synthetic poisons that ensnare aquatic creatures at all levels of the food chain.
If your next seafood salad tastes funny, think about the floating garbage patch that covers more area than the state of Texas.
Bordo Poniente, Mexico City
Obviously, the residents of Mexico are justifiably proud of their national treasure, the Bordo Poniente gargbage heap. Over 7000 trucks a day transport the contributions of Mexicans from all walks of life. It's truly a group effort: no single individual or social strata could possibly generate all that yuck.
Mexican officials have become so enamored with their accomplishment that they plan to create another garbage dump to supplement the accumulation already festering at Bordo Poniente. They estimate construction costs to be almost 2 billion dollars (USD). They will depend on the general citizenry to provide sufficient quantities of rotting food, unwanted clothing, plastic packaging, and lawn clippings to stock the dump.
San Francisco Solid Waste Transfer and Recycling Center
It's all garbage, but it can still be sorted and organized. The San Francisco Solid Waste Transfer and Recycling Center at 501 Tunnel Avenue extracts anything of any value whatsoever before transferring the remaining real trash to a real landfill.
An Artist in Residence program (no lie) at the transfer station provides a stipend for creative pickers to slog thorough the sludge and create visually appealing compositions from composting crud. The official title is "Scavenger Artist" : imagine that on your business card.
San Fran residents get three different bins. They are required to subdivide their refuse into green (yard waste and compoatables), blue (plastic, metal, paper, glass), and black (everything else) containers before transport to the Transfer Station. City officials plan for a zero-landfill process by the year 2020.
Springfield Tire Fire
Springfield may not be a real city, but its' mythical citizens take real pride in their eternal flame, also known as the Springfield Tire Fire. Consuming virtual radials and bias ply rubber since accidentally igniting in the previous century, this municipal landmark provides a rallying point for ecologists and bored teenagers alike.
Yes, it has been extinguished now and then, but events insist on conspiring to reignite the conflagration, much to the horror of the Springfield EPA. Where else would all those used tires go?
Dump Valley: The Pride of Southern Nevada
Nevadans produce refuse as well as any population in the world. Most of it ends up in a once-beautiful valley located just off Interstate 15, but strategically hidden from view.
Just a few miles north of Las Vegas sits the largest pile of unwanted stuff in the United States. To the south is The Lake Mead National Recreation Area. To the west is The Desert National Wildlife Refuge.
A by-product of decomposing organic material is methane gas. This gas burns, baby. Look for Republic Services to capture that gas and turn it into electricity for the benefit of gamblers in Las Vegas. Note also that Las Vegas Paving regularly carves out more of the valley to accommodate shiny new garbage.
Each garbage truck is weighed before disgorging its' load if fresh refuse. This is required because, well, it's important to know how heavy all that garbage might be. Statistics give us some nebulous feeling of control over our waste.
Delhi is the capital of India and home to over 13 million people. None of those people want to live next to a garbage heap, but their garbage heaps are moving in next to them. In Delhi they don't weigh their trucks and they don't segregate their trash into colored bins. They don't capture all the methane and burn it into electricity. They just dump everything in a big sagging dangerous pile. The pile expands according to gravity. It probably does not have a big plastic liner underneath it.
This particular landfill is operated by The Municipal Corporation of Delhi, a government entity. They do not oversee the thousands of children rummaging through the garbage in search of anything remotely valuable.
Delhi has almost no littering laws. A few areas of the city have implemented new legislation, but when you live next door to a massive festering garbage heap, who cares if there's a candy bar wrapper in the gutter?
- Mountains of garbage pile up in Indian capital
- Springfield (The Simpsons)
- The Dump - NYTimes.com
San Francisco diverts 77 percent of its waste, the best landfill-avoidance rate for any large city in the United States.
- Replacing Bordo Poniente to cost US$1.2bn - expert