22. Landfills

The practice of dumping unprocessed trash into landfills, the ocean, the atmosphere, or into any other open environment, without first extracting all economically recyclable materials including extracting energy through safe incineration, should be banned. Under no conditions should garbage that may pose a potential aesthetic, physical, chemical, or biological threat to the aesthetic quality and normal functioning of a natural environment be disposed of in that environment without first ensuring that measures are taken to mitigate virtually every possible threat so that the waste becomes environmentally inert.

The ultimate goal should be to find ways to recycle all wastes generated by humans back again into useful products. The requirement to make wastes completely inert before disposal in the environment would result in a considerable increase in such disposal costs. The benefits of increasing such costs for this type of disposal are many. First, efforts to recycle wastes would be more economically attractive and new markets for recycled wastes would emerge. Second, garbage generators would likely pressure their suppliers to make their products more recyclable as well as to minimize the use of packaging materials. Third, consumers may not be as willing to purchase lower quality goods which require more frequent disposal, thus encouraging producers to generate higher quality goods with longer lifetimes.

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