Across the US, landfills are accumulating trash faster than the materials can decompose. While diverting trash altogether would be the preferred outcome for pollution reduction, about 500 landfills across the country have turned to a novel way of combating pollution from the waste that is ending up in landfills: capturing the gas emitted from organic materials and transforming it into electricity. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, about 28 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping atmospheric heat; capturing it removes the gas’s ability to stimulate the greenhouse effect when it infiltrates our atmosphere. Landfill Gas-to-Energy systems allow for the conversation of methane to energy and are equipped with infrastructure to collect the gas; once collected, the methane can be used in a few ways, including as electricity on site, fed into the local power grid, or used as natural gas. The largest such project in the US, Puente Hills in California, produces enough energy to power 70,000 homes.

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