As the number of landfills spanning the globe continues to increase, finding sustainable ways to dispose of waste becomes increasingly important. In addition to their unsightly appearance, landfills have several negative impacts on the environment. Fortunately, more sustainable and environmentally friendly ways to dispose of waste includes turning it into energy. The process of converting waste into energy involves heating, melting, and vaporizing plastics into gas which can be used to produce several types of energy. To learn more about the positive impacts of this alternative waste management practice, consider these main benefits of turning waste into energy.
One of the biggest and most obvious benefits of turning waste into energy is that it produces a significant amount of renewable energy. Waste can produce several forms of energy such as natural gas, fuel cells, steam, vehicle fuel, and electricity. As a result of such energy sources’ production through waste-to-energy practices, we can reduce our dependence on finite resources such as coal and oil.
Landfills don’t just smell and look terrible, they also pose several safety and environmental concerns. The most pressing issues that landfills pose are caused by the toxins, leachate, and greenhouse gases they emit as the waste breaks down in a compressed and confined space. Such toxins can leak into the groundwater and atmosphere, which can pose health concerns for the people and animals who live in the area. While government regulations have helped decrease the negative impact landfills have, such risks still present themselves. Decreasing the number of landfills on the planet by providing an alternative waste disposal solution is a large benefit of turning waste into energy.
As previously stated, landfills notoriously emit harmful greenhouse gases; methane being chief among them. When organic waste is loaded into landfills, it’s often compacted down and covered, which removes oxygen. As a result, the waste breaks down in an anaerobic process that eventually releases methane. Considered as one of the worst greenhouse gases, methane has far more potency than carbon dioxide, and it has been linked to climate change. By providing an alternative waste disposal solution to landfills, turning waste into energy helps decrease the release of such harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
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