Making the Most of Landfill Trash

By tapping into the gases generated in their landfills and burning trash that would otherwise lie buried, Waste Management will join a growing list of companies making a concerted, voluntary effort to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.

Houston, Texas – January 21, 2003 [] Waste Management Inc., is one of 14 companies to join the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) as a founding member. CCX is a non-governmental entity established to develop a voluntary marketplace for reducing and trading greenhouse gas emissions. “For more than 15 years, Waste Management has combined state-of-the-art technology with environmental and operational expertise to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our landfills,” said A. Maurice Myers, chairman, president and CEO of Waste Management Inc. “We are pleased to be part of a group that is dedicated to finding innovative ways to address climate change issues.” In July 2001, Waste Management became one of the original design phase members of CCX. As a founding member, Waste Management has made a commitment to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by four percent below the average of its 1998-2001 baseline by 2006, the last year of the pilot program. Waste Management also will be able to receive credit for its reductions and to buy and sell credits in order to find the most cost-effective way of achieving reductions. Waste Management generates significant amounts of greenhouse gas credits through the operation of its landfill gas collection and control systems, its landfill gas beneficial use projects, and its waste-to-energy business, Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. For more than 15 years, Waste Management has been actively developing landfill gas-to-energy projects. The gas, which would otherwise be wasted, is a readily available, Renewable Energy source that can be gathered and used directly as medium Btu gas for industrial use or sold to gas-to-energy plants to fuel engine generators that, in turn, generate electricity. Waste Management currently supplies landfill gas to 72 gas-to-energy projects in 22 states. In all, the gas-to-electricity projects provide more than 200 MW of energy, enough to power 180,000 homes, while the direct sales to industrial users replace over two million barrels of oil each year. Several Waste Management landfills have been recognized by the EPA for innovation in landfill gas recovery. Waste Management’s waste-to-energy business, Wheelabrator Technologies Inc., uses trash as fuel to produce energy at its 16 waste-to-energy facilities across the U.S. The energy plants have the capacity to convert 23,825 tons of trash per day into electrical or steam energy, generating up to 671 MW of renewable electric energy per hour — enough power for more than 575,000 homes. Since 1975, Wheelabrator has processed over 100 million tons of municipal solid waste into energy, saving more than 150 million barrels of oil while producing in excess of 50 billion kWh of electricity.
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