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GHG emissions continue to fall for solid waste industry

According to the latest greenhouse gas inventory released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in April 2012, the waste management services industry generated only 1.8 percent of the total anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the United States. The National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), the association that represents for-profit companies in the U.S. that provide solid waste collection, recycling and disposal services, commented that this EPA report demonstrates the significant progress made by the solid waste services industry.

While anthropogenic methane emissions from natural gas systems and enteric fermentation have increased since 1990, emissions from landfills have decreased to 16.2 percent as a result of greater use of gas collection and destruction equipment. In fact, these emissions at landfills are less than half of the emissions from natural gas systems.

“Our industry expects to continue reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the future, as additional investments are made to capture and destroy landfill gas,” said NSWMA president and CEO Bruce J. Parker.

The gases generated from landfills, composting and incineration were approximately 124 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2Eq). Municipal solid waste and industrial waste landfills reduced their total anthropogenic methane emissions by more than 27 percent since 1990, from 148 million tons of CO2Eq in 1990 to 108 million tons CO2Eq in 2010.