What can we do to reduce the methane that is being emitted from our landfills? Every year there is between 30-70 million tons of methane that are released from landfills alone. There are still more than 2,000 municipal solid waste landfills in the United States, which are accounting for the third largest source of methane emissions. But could there be a way to reduce this output or even use it in a beneficial way?
President Obama came up with a Climate Action Plan in order to cut down on green house gasses by 17% between 2005 and 2020. As a part of this, it is stressed that we need to do what we can to reduce the amount of garbage that is being disposed into our landfills, but also be able to use the remaining as a source of fuel.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a program called the Landfill MethaneOutreach Program (LMOP) that encourages the use of landfill gasses (prominently methane) to be used as a renewable energy resource. This gas can be captured and reused to fuel power plants, vehicles, manufacturing facilities and more. By joining their cause you can unite with companies and organizations that are advocating for and supporting this projects development. There are already around 600 projects going on through the EPA in the United States working towards turning this harmful gas, into electricity.
We need to continue to do our part every day by ensuring that we are throwing away the right things, composting and recycling. Be diligent in what you throw away, if you are able to reuse it, or donate it for someone else to reuse, then consider doing so. Watch out for hazardous waste, such as cleaning supplies, batteries and paint, making sure that you find out where your community takes such things to properly dispose of them.