HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Scientists Sift Through Trash In Search Of Perfect Landfill

MADISON - Robert Ham believes well-designed landfills can be tools for recycling, rather than tombs that harbor trash for generations.

As one of the country's leading landfill experts, the UW-Madison emeritus professor of civil engineering has spent his career studying the things we put on the curb and forget. Ham's latest study might be the clearest indication yet of what happens to landfilled materials.

Knowing how and what materials degrade is the first step toward making landfills better garbage-eating machines - and providing an energy source from methane, Ham says.

At the start of a six-year study, Ham's research team loaded up mesh sacks full of fresh all-American garbage, from soiled diapers to lima beans, and lowered them 10 feet into three landfills across the country. Then they dug them up again - after one year, after 2.5 years and after six years - and sorted through the mass, dried it, weighed it and ran chemical tests.

What Ham and former graduate students Timothy Baldwin and Jeffrey Stinson found might surprise people: Much of our garbage, under the right conditions, moves quite nicely toward oblivion.

This study was a reversal of most landfill surveys, which take core samples from material already buried. Ham says this study gave them controlled information at landfills in Florida, Pennsylvania and Madison on 11 representative types of trash.

"By tracking what happens to the very items we put down, we know exactly what the weight and composition was at day zero," Ham says. It showed conclusively that landfills need not be "tombs" holding waste unchanged for decades.

The study found that food decomposes relatively quickly. After six years in the Madison site, pasta, lima beans, peanuts and sunflower seeds all lost at least half of their dry weight, and pasta almost completely vanished. In Florida, the food samples were all more than 75 percent decomposed
'"/>

Contact: Robert Ham
608-238-4527
University of Wisconsin-Madison
16-Feb-1998


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Scientists to prototype cyberinfrastructure for research and education access to ocean observatories
2. Scientists sequence genome of kind of organism central to biospheres carbon cycle
3. Scientists find nanowires capable of detecting individual viruses
4. Scientists discover potential new way to control drug-resistant bacteria
5. Scientists explore genome of methane-breathing microbe
6. Scientists decipher genetic code of biothreat pathogen
7. Stuck on you: Scientists lay bare secrets of bacterial attachment proteins
8. Scientists discover proteins involved in spread of HIV-1 infection
9. Scientists fear new Ebola outbreak may explain sudden gorilla disappearance
10. Scientists reinvent DNA as template to produce organic molecules
11. Scientists visualise cellular handmaiden that restores shape to proteins

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:7/20/2017)... DAL ) customers now can use fingerprints instead of their boarding ... ... biometrics to board aircraft at Reagan Washington National Airport ... Delta,s biometric boarding pass experience that launched in May at the ... to allow eligible Delta SkyMiles Members who are enrolled in CLEAR to ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... IBM ) is introducing several innovative partner startups at VivaTech ... startups and global businesses, taking place in Paris ... will showcase the solutions they have built with IBM Watson ... France is one of the most dynamic ... in the number of startups created between 2012 and 2015*, ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017   Bridge Patient ... organizations, and MD EMR Systems , an ... partner for GE, have established a partnership to ... product and the GE Centricity™ products, including Centricity ... These new integrations will allow ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 11, 2017 , ... Proscia Inc ., a data ... titled, “Pathology is going digital. Is your lab ready?” with Dr. Nicolas Cacciabeve, ... and how Proscia improves lab economics and realizes an increase in diagnostic confidence.* ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... implantation and pregnancy rates in frozen and fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) ... and maternal age to IVF success. , After comparing the results from the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... Center’s FirstHand program has won a US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the ... for Excellence in Volunteer Experience from US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 10, 2017 , ... USDM Life Sciences , the ... sciences and healthcare industries, announces a presentation by Subbu Viswanathan and Jennifer Jaye ... GxP Validation for Agile Cloud Platforms,” will present a revolutionary approach to achieving ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: