Waste To Energy Programs

Posted on: 15 September 2015

Waste to energy programs have evolved over the years. Currently, the United States has 86 of these plants located in 25 states. These facilities convert non-recyclable waste and turn it into various forms of energy, including heat, fuel, and electricity. The current facilities are able to produce 2,720 megawatts of power from 28 million tons of waste. If you are a business owner, you should support building more of these plants so that your recyclable materials do not end up in landfills but actually help produce energy. 


In the waste hierarchy, reducing waste is the most beneficial way to help the environment. After that comes reusing items, recycling and composting, and energy-from-waste programs. The most harmful waste disposal method is dumping items in a landfill. Most methane comes from this landfill waste. Methane is a serious danger to the environment since it is 34 times stronger than carbon dioxide and is a contributor to climate change. Using waste to energy programs lowers methane emissions by 20 million tons.

These plants also reduce the volume of the unrecyclable waste by 90%, which lowers the demand for landfill space. These programs also encourage recycling among area residents. Studies show that communities that use waste to energy programs have higher recycling rates than do communities that do not. 

Improved Technology

Newer technologies are allowing more materials to be saved from the waste stream and then converted  to oil and gasses that can be used to run steam turbines. Since bigger plants can leave their own rather large carbon footprint, the emphasis in the future will be on smaller waste to energy plants that can provide energy for the community without causing environmental damage on their own. Building smaller facilities will reduce the toxic ash that can be produced when the waste is burned. Smaller plants are obviously cheaper to build, which makes it easier for more communities to begin using waste to energy programs. 

Using this method to dispose of unrecyclable waste has many advantages for all members of the community. It reduces greenhouse gasses and leaves little behind that needs to go to a landfill. It helps reduce an area's carbon footprint and provides affordable energy to the area. Any process that can be both ecologically and financially sound is an attractive choice for your community. Supporting these projects in your area will help businesses and individuals improve their community's quality of life. Contact a local waste company, like E.L. Harvey & Sons, to learn more.