WASHINGTON : The latest report released by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that the waste and recycling industry in the US emitted lesser green house gas despite increased waste volumes. The recently published EPA report, Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990 – 2011, showed that landfills accounted for 17.5% of the total anthropogenic methane (CH4) emissions in 2011.
Landfills produced a total of 103 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2011. It must be noted that 147.8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent were produced in 1190.This is quite a significant fall in two decades considering the fact that the volumes of waste have increased several folds during the same period.
The report states that there has been a considerable drop in the amount of waste incinerated in the US, which has substantially reduced the carbon footage. The total tonnage of incinerated waste reduced sizably from 30.6 million in 1190 to 23.7 million in 2011.
The sharp increase in volumes of tyres and other carbon containing materials in the waste stream have lead to an increase in the CO2 equivalent emissions by waste-to-energy facilities in the US from 8 million tonnes in 1190 to 12 million tonnes in 2011. The report states that the total CO2 equivalent gas emissions generated from landfills, composting and incineration were nearly 122 million tonnes during 2011.The country has a total of 594 landfill gas to energy sites.
These have a combined capacity to generate 1813 MW of electricity-sufficient enough to directly power 1 million homes.