October 16, 2018.
When you send waste away, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about where it ends up when all is said and done. You probably spend even less time thinking about what could be surrounding your discarded belongings and unwanted items. If you were to take a journey into an Austin scrap yard or landfill, these are just a few of the things you might find along the way.
1. Lost and Discarded Treasures
From purses found in Austin dumpsters filled with waste destined for the local landfill to US Army commemorative rings, it’s almost impossible to estimate the number of lost treasures that actually end up in the trash.
Of things destined for a landfill and somehow diverted from their path, few are as interesting as The Other John Updike Archive. Rather than items found in an Austin scrap yard, these items were liberated from garbage cans on the other side of the United States to become part of a carefully curated archive in Texas celebrating the legacy of novelist John Updike. Over the course of many years, one Texas man pilfered everything from discarded eyeglasses to honorary university degrees from the waste cans outside the writer’s home.
What about things of value that aren’t intercepted along their path to the dump? Few things are of as much value to most people than their identity, but all the details an identity thief needs can often be found unguarded in the landfill. Bank statements, account information, credit card numbers and Social Security numbers can often be found in household garbage, which eventually makes its way to a landfill. We all need to do our part to minimize landfill impact, but this can serve as a good reminder for just how much we toss into the garbage without considering its impact.
2. Hidden Dangers in Austin Scrap Yards
Everyone knows a landfill or scrap yard is likely to be filled with sharp edges and other dangerous items, but what about the dangers you can’t see?
Landfills are full of things with the potential to cause health hazards and environmental damage, even though there are state, local and federal guidelines governing what is and is not legally allowed to be discarded in such a manner. Researchers have even discovered possible linksbetween living near a landfill and an increased risk of some cancers, serious infections and birth defects.
Landfills and scrap yards are a significant source of methane gas, which is naturally produced as waste in the landfill breaks down over time. Since methane is more effective at heating the atmosphere than CO2 emissions, it’s not a stretch to say that landfills have the potential to contribute to both short-term and long-term ill effects for the planet and the people who inhabit it.
Being mindful of how and where we dispose of all items, but particularly those with the potential to be hazardous, is vital. That’s why we work so hard at Jiffy Junk to minimize our landfill impact wherever possible.
3. Hope for the Future
The future’s not all gloom and doom when it comes to waste management, especially for one UT Austin student.Joy Youwakim devised a project in conjunction with the city of Austin and a local landfill that allowed her to grow 20 pounds of produce on a tiny sliver of landfill space. After rigorous food safety testing, the produce was shown to have only trace amounts of some heavy metals but no signs of salmonella or listeria.
Joy Youwakim estimates that, based upon the yield of one experiment and the scalability of the project, enough food to feed 30,000 people could be safely and feasibly grown on top of an Austin landfill.
4. Landfills Are for the Birds
Where there’s trash, there’s decay. Where there’s decay, carrion birds tend to follow. One Travis County homeowner found this out the hard way in 2009, when he claims his property was subjected to the activity of about 600 turkey vultures drawn to a newly-built adjoining landfill. The birds even managed to draw the attention of Austin Energy, which worried about the potential damage done to the power grid and equipment in the presence of so many roosting birds.
From scavenger birds to scavenging identity thieves, the landfill can be home to all kinds of unsavory discoveries.
The Jiffy Junk Difference
Trucks trundling down the road, laden with waste and en route to a landfill aren’t your only option for waste management and removal. In fact, there are plenty of items those municipal trucks won’t take anyway, leaving you wondering how to quickly, effectively and ethically get rid of unwanted items. You can spend hours researching the special pickup programs offered by your local department of sanitation, but you may still not find all the answers you need if you’re in the middle of a tricky project. Appliance removal, old furniture disposal, and disposing of potentially hazardous waste can all be difficult, but there are solutions.
At Jiffy Junk, we work hard to make sure our customers receive the very best in white-glove waste removal while mitigating our environmental impact in any way we can. Because we never want to contribute to local landfills, we take a different approach to large item pickup, trash and junk removal.
We’ll come to your home or place of business to collect everything you want to throw away. There’s no need for you to sort items, prepare them for recycling, or research the applicable state, local and federal disposal laws. Our trained and experienced technicians will donate anything still in usable condition, then look for ways to recycle or repurpose anything else. You’re left with a clean-swept, junk-free space and a clear conscience, no stress and no hassle.
Don’t let waste, junk or debris cause you headaches on your property and subject you to health risks once it’s carted away to a landfill. Call us today for quicker, easier and greener disposal options.