Wonderful World Wednesday
White Dog and the rest of the White Dog Army supervise our family’s efforts to reduce our environmental footprint. They help Steve with the composter. They shred papers to go to the recycler. We reuse materials in other ways (like holey socks become duster mitts ). We, of course, have White Dog’s Zap!, an electric car, for use around town.
Sometimes the WDA worries that this one family’s tiny steps to reduce-reuse-recycle isn’t enough to REALLY make a difference. They know it takes hundreds of individuals to offset the huge resource uses of large corporations and government. When they hear news about a big leap forward, changes that affect hundreds of communities, they get excited. News like garbage fueled garbage trucks…
Garbage into Gold by J. Dearen, The Associated Press. May 3, 2011, Livermore, CA
Hundreds of trash trucks across California are rumbling down city streets using clean fuel made from a dirty source: garbage.
The fuel is derived from rotting refuse that San Francisco and Oakland residents and businesses have been discarding in the Altamont landfill since 1980. Since November, the methane gas created from decaying detritus at the 240-acre landfill has been sucked into tubes and sent into an innovative facility that purifies and transforms it into liquefied natural gas.
Almost 500 Waste Management Inc. garbage and recycling trucks run on this new source of environmentally friendly fuel instead of dirty diesel. The climate change benefits of this plant are twofold — methane from the trash heap is captured before entering the environment and use of the fuel produces less carbon dioxide than conventional gasoline. It will take 30,000 tons a year of CO2 from the environment, according to experts.
Landfills have plenty of the ingredients to produce methane. Bacteria break down the food scraps, paper, lawn trimmings and other organic waste dumped there. Over time, the material ferments, releasing methane and other gases. About 50 percent of the gas emitted from landfills is methane. Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. Methane is also the main component of natural gas, so by capturing and using methane as an energy source you get an even bigger bang for the buck.
Putting garbage to work to clean up the environment…Now that is hopeful news. White Dog, The Other White Dog, Another White Dog, Still Another White Dog, and Yet Another White Dog agree if we can get everyone thinking about—and working on--cleaning up our environment we will continue to live in a wonderful world!