Why Volcanoes Are A Terrible Way To Dispose Of Garbage

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Humans create a lot of garbage. It’s just something we love to do. Alongside the other madhouse idea of shooting all our refuse into the sun, so too has the notion been floated of dumping it into volcanoes instead. Except, well, doing that wouldn’t work great either, as SciShow host Hank Green explains.

Even though volcanoes are closer to us than the sun, making the both cheaper and easier to get to, the transportation costs and infrastructure requirements would still be a problem, according to Green.

Assuming you have a volcano nearby, it’s unlikely to have a convenient, molten pool in which to turf your junk. That’s fine, you say, why not simply drill until you find some? Awesome! Who gets this awesome job? And when the volcano accidentally erupts, can we put all the blame on them?

Yeah, dumb idea.

OK, OK, if hypothetically you had a volcano in a state of equilibrium, allowing one to toss whatever into a magma-filled cauldron without it erupting… you still couldn’t do it in a relatively safe manner. Disposing of organic waste would be rather dangerous and recycling is usually the better way of dealing with inorganic materials.

So, even in the best case scenario, volcanoes are not a magical solution to eliminating waste. But feel free to come up with a business plan anyway!