Municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 14.5 percent of these emissions in 2020. The methane emissions from MSW landfills in 2020 were approximately equivalent to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from about 20.3 million passenger vehicles driven for one year or the CO2 emissions from nearly 11.9 million homes’ energy use for one year. At the same time, methane emissions from MSW landfills represent a lost opportunity to capture and use a significant energy resource.
Find more information: US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) LMOP
All emission estimates from the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990–2020.
Methane (CH4) is responsible for about a fifth of the enhanced greenhouse gas effect, even though there is about 200 times less in the Earth’s atmosphere than CO2. Therefore, it plays a crucial role in global warming
Human activities account for about 64% of global methane emissions, and landfills are about 15% of that amount. MERI has developed new technologies to measure and reduce methane emissions such as biofiltration technologies and bio covers.
Methane's global warming potency compared to carbon dioxide – has been estimated to be 21 to 34. GWP measures the amount of heat each gas is capable of trapping in the earth's atmosphere- ultimately telling how great a contributor it is to global warming.
Methane has an atmospheric lifetime of about 12 years: what we do today can have an effect in a relatively short period of time
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