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Waste Characterization Study

The Defiance County Landfill participates in a Waste Characterization Audit approximately three times annually. The audit is directed by the Four County Solid Waste District in coordination with ODNR/DRLP. This type of auditing analyzes types of wastes being hauled to the landfill.

A detailed visual inspection is conducted on every load selected for sampling. During the unloading of the truck, a walk around inspection begins. Emphasis is placed on materials such as corrugated paper, wood (including pallets), metals and plastics. Large or unique items such as carpeting, appliances (both large and small), tires, computers and furniture are also noted.

Once a load is selected for sampling and the above specifics obtained, the vehicle is unloaded as close to the sort site as feasible. The goal of sampling between 200 and 300 pounds of a selected load was established to ensure accuracy and to allow for continuity between each sort location. Maintaining consistency between the sampling sites (other landfills) is a key element to define a waste stream characterization.

Waste is gathered from the designated load, sampled and placed into sampling bins. The bins are weighed and taken to a sorting station. East sort station has two tables with a series of various bin sizes. Each bin is labeled with a specific category such as: newspaper, magazines, glass, aluminum cans, plastics, etc. As each bin is filled it is weighed on a digital bench scale and the weight is recorded. This process is repeated for each sample.

This audit gives the Solid Waste District information regarding recyclable waste that is not being recycled. These statistics can give an estimated percentage of wastes that need to be recycled. Recycling programs can direct various projects at collecting these types of recycled wastes. Many organizations assist with this effort by having newspaper drives, telephone book processing, etc.

Understanding what is being 'thrown away', can provide the information needed for increasing recycling objectives. The pictures to the left show the crew performing the Waste Characterization Audit.