Solid waste is any discarded material that is not a liquid or gas. It is generated in domestic, industrial, business, and agricultural sectors. Solid waste is most often disposed of in landfills. Landfills can contaminate groundwater and release harmful gases. A sanitary municipal landfill consists of a bottom liner (plastic or clay), a storm water collection system, a leachate collection system, a cap, and a methane collection system. Factors in landfill decomposition include the composition of the trash and conditions needed for microbial decomposition of the waste. Solid waste can also be disposed of through incineration, where waste is burned at high temperatures. This method significantly reduces the volume of solid waste but releases air pollutants.
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