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Top 10 Garbage Dumps

Updated on April 22, 2013

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, Cincinnati,OH
Mt. Rumpke, Cincinnati,OH | Source

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.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch: home to the world's largest collection of plastic bits.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch: home to the world's largest collection of plastic bits. | Source

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
Bordo Poniente, Mexico City

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 Fransisco plays with its' garbage
San Fransisco plays with its' garbage | Source
Here's the San Fran garbage that couldn't be recycled.
Here's the San Fran garbage that couldn't be recycled. | Source

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.

The Springfield Tire Fire
The Springfield Tire Fire | Source

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. It just keeps on growin'
Dump Valley. It just keeps on growin' | Source

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.

New Delhi Garbage Dump
New Delhi Garbage Dump | Source

Delhi, India

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?


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    • gabgirl12 profile image

      gabgirl12 6 years ago

      I'm a huge fan of going green. Living in Virginia taught me the value of doing that. I learned to recycle just about everything and use a garbage disposal for food that needed to be discarded. Now that I live in Maryland, while they do recycle, it's not very organized and there is no garbage disposal in my apartment. It saddens me to have to throw out discarded food. I've opted to at least wash cans before I throw them out. I don't let food spoil in my fridge. For some reason I can still smell garbage everywhere, even in people's homes without entering. I miss Virginia!! Thanks for the hub. It makes me appreciate recycling all the more.

    • profile image

      Anil 6 years ago

      We have to wash our own butts and potty if we are not small kids. No one else does it for an normal adult. Privatization is the solution with public donation is the solution for garbage disposal along with seriousness of Local Govt and Municipal Corporations. In Delhi, India MCD is the most cunning organization passing all bucks of not functioning to opposition and Public. Delhi has become the dirtiest place to live in and soon it will take epedemic form. Delhi Govt is not able to control the Garbage management and making the public Chootia on all fronts.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Great post! In Miami, the highest point is the trash dump, except for sky-scrapers. I've ridden by Mount Trashamore' many times. Great write!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      It seems that a lot of garbage could be turned into energy.

    • profile image 7 years ago

      One of the oldest and biggest car companies in Australia has just recently invested big in a company that turns rubbish into Ethanol - i.e. fuel for cars. Production will run into millions of litres.

    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 7 years ago from SE MA

      Did you happen to see this?

      The "An often-cited statistic estimates that the next 1,000 years worth of trash would only fill a 35-square mile landfill that is 100 yards deep." is particularly interesting in this regard.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @drbj : It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.

      @Robwrite: In my opinion it's a catastrophe on the scale of what Al Gore wants us to think that global warming is.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 7 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      I've written articles about the great pacific garbage patch. It's a damn shame.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      nicomp -this is fascinating information for those of us who are waste-challenged, but what can we do to bring you out of the dumps?