South Jersey Solid Waste

South Jersey Solid Waste
Atlantic County solid waste facility, Burlington County landfill and recycling plant.

Current estimates are that each person in the United States produces about 4.9 pounds of solid waste each day, a figure that has been rising. This is generally what gets hauled away from homes by garbage or recycling trucks; there’s more produced by industry. Getting rid of it is a major and growing problem; when the truck pulls away from your house, the garbage does not go out of existence.

In the first phase of exploring the subject, Jim wrote a review of Burlington County NJ’s landfill and recycling programs. This involved extensive research and visits to the county’s central landfill and recycling facilities. Programs are large, expensive, complicated, and largely out of people’s thoughts, but they are real.

The initial articles were published locally in two installments of the Lumberton Chronicle, and are available here.

Lumberton NJ garbage truck.

The larger research effort that followed has resulted in two additional major articles which are pending review at a university publication.

One covers the broad history of solid waste in the United States, and then focuses on the eight counties of South Jersey, using Burlington County as a more detailed example. Politics, science, government, financing and public attitudes are explored, making use of numerous newspaper accounts, books and articles on the subject, as well as personal exploration.

A companion article examines the history and mysteries of the Tuckerton Mound, a massive pile of clam shells on the salt marshes south of Tuckerton, NJ, off of Great Bay Boulevard (Seven Bridges Road), created by early indigenous visitors over a period of centuries dating back at least 1500 years ago. The pile is about 100 feet long, 50 wide and 10 high, with a few hardy trees now growing on the thin layer of soil that accumulated on it. Long a subject of study by archaeologists, it represents one of New Jersey’s oldest remaining “garbage dumps.”

Copies of these two articles, or derivatives thereof, will be made available here later.

Tuckerton Mound, Courtesy Richard Veit.
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