That means audiences around the world have ready access to stories that can — and do — help them shape a better future. Natural Gas Should Be Cleaner. Three-fourths of these projects in the United States burn methane to generate electricity, according to the EPA. According to Seldman, some 250 U.S. cities have instituted curbside collection of yard and food waste. “If you are running your composting facility well, you shouldn’t have a lot of methane emissions,” says Kelly. “It’s important to get more of this stuff out of the landfill,” says Anderson. For specific questions related to visuals, please contact Todd Reubold. U.S. landfills released an estimated 148 million metric tons (163 million tons) of CO2 equivalent to the atmosphere in 2014 alone. At the beginning of your post, please attribute the writer and Ensia as the original source and link to the Ensia article. However, methane in the atmosphere is a greenhouse gas. The United States had the highest total quantity of methane emissions from landfills in 2010: almost 130 million metric tons (143 million tons) of CO2 equivalent. To capture it, operators insert vertical wells into the waste and use vacuum pressure to suck up the gas. For other inquiries, email [email protected]. Please send an email to [email protected] with a link to the republished story on your site once posted. Industry standards and existing regulations on air emissions from EPA and other agencies are empowering the private sector to continue to innovate and deliver more natural gas and oil to customers while improving air quality and protecting public health and the environment without unnecessarily hampering manufacturing and business expansion. But people who study waste, such as Anderson and Hans Oonk, a Dutch consultant on environmental policies and technologies, say the EPA’s estimate is likely an overstatement. The EPA estimates that landfill gas energy projects capture roughly 60 to 90 percent of the methane emitted from the landfill, depending on system design and effectiveness. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, methane emissions from the energy sector decreased 14 percent from 1990 to 2016, while natural gas output increased by more than 50 percent during the same period. Photo © With a chemical formula of CH4, methane is made up of four hydrogen atoms and only one carbon atom. Because methane typically has a much shorter life in the atmosphere than CO2 (12 years compared with 100 to 300 years for carbon dioxide), reducing methane release from landfills can help rapidly reduce climate change risk. “Let’s feed people, not landfills,” said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy in announcing the initiative. The result? A more direct — and likely more successful — way to reduce landfill methane would be to reduce the amount of methane-generating materials going into landfills in the first place. Methane is a valuable commodity; eliminating methane leakage means more natural gas is captured and retained, which can be sold and used as energy. Or it can be cleaned to a higher standard and put into a natural gas pipeline, joining the larger gas supply, a method Waste Management has employed at its Milam Landfill in Fairmont City, Illinois. Show your support for nonprofit journalism! The industry’s numbers are trending in all the right directions. This article is a basic description of landfill methane carbon projects, meant for someone intending to offset their carbon footprint. “The organic matter is invaluable; there’s no other way to replace topsoil and many other agricultural amendments,” Seldman says. At the same time, methane emissions from landfills represent a lost opportunity to capture and use a significant energy resource.When MSW is first deposited in a landfill, it undergoes an aerobic (with oxygen) decomposition stage when little methane is generated. Kerry Kelly, senior director of federal affairs for Waste Management, says it’s simply not possible to accurately assess methane leakage. One of these goals is to create a more airtight infrastructure through the widespread replacement of pneumatic control valves. Globally, trash released nearly 800 million metric tons (882 million tons) of CO2 equivalent in 2010 — about 11 percent of all methane generated by humans. For 20 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has required some landfill operators (generally those with larger facilities) to control methane emissions by installing gas collection systems. Globally, trash released nearly 800 million metric tons (882 million tons) of CO. equivalent in 2010 — about 11 percent of all methane generated by humans. It all adds up to a win-win situation – for the industry, the environment, the American workforce, and energy consumers everywhere. Landfills go through various stages: open, open with a cover that still lets in some oxygen, and closed with an impermeable seal. But that achievement seems rather modest when considering another EPA statistic: U.S. landfills released an estimated 148 million metric tons (163 million tons) of CO2 equivalent to the atmosphere in 2014 alone — a figure that includes both municipal waste landfills and industrial landfills, some of which have gas collection facilities and some of which don’t. By the time a landfill is sealed, it has released most of the methane it is going to.When a landfill is open to receiving more trash, it doesn’t have a seal, making the vacuum draw somewhat ineffective. Methane is the primary component of natural gas. Last year the EPA and U.S. Department of Agriculture set a target to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030, with programs for public education and commercial policies. Waste Management has set up pilot projects for this technology in Los Angeles and New York and will soon take it to Boston too. Methane leak detection, monitoring, and repair is another area of increased focus. In July, EPA published new rules tightening regulations related to methane emissions from landfills. The post is now in your clipboard. The increased use of natural gas has reduced carbon emissions, lowered costs to American consumers, and increased our nation’s manufacturing competitiveness. While these facilities can stand alone, they are increasingly being incorporated into wastewater plants that treat sewage. With some 40 percent of all food wasted in the United States, reducing food waste offers big opportunities. Cumulative methane emission reductions that can be attributed to … Sign up now for our bi-weekly newsletter and you'll get the latest stories from Ensia delivered straight to your inbox. These operating realities mean that “gas collection doesn’t work when the gas is generated, and it does work when no gas is being generated,” said Anderson. “By reducing wasted food in landfills, we cut harmful methane emissions that fuel climate change, conserve our natural resources, and protect our planet for future generations.”, Composting can help reduce the landfill methane problem by keeping some organic material out of the trash. You must use the “Get Article” link below and use the copied text for your repost. The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative has committed $20 million to support technologies and businesses that detect, measure and mitigate methane emissions. A 2012 paper by Oonk evaluated the efficiency of landfill gas capture projects; it reported that gas collection efficiency depends on the phase of the landfill and varies widely — with efficiencies ranging from 10 to 90 percent. Creative Commons’ Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license, The United States had the highest total quantity, 12 years compared with 100 to 300 years for carbon dioxide. Milwaukee and Philadelphia are taking the same principle to the people, encouraging them to install garbage disposal units in their kitchen plumbing, said Seldman.

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