An emerging group of technologies that allow us to capture energy and raw materials from waste have significant potential to yield both environmental and economic benefits.
We don’t think the future, long term, is going to be continuing to put everything in the landfill. It’s going to be recovering more value from this material. The customers will demand it, the struggle for resources will demand it, and quite honestly, economically, it’s the thing we should be doing.
Waste Management already produces energy through its 17 waste-to-energy plants. Since 2009, Waste Management has bought stakes in eight companies that gasify, ferment or digest trash, turning it into a source of heat, power, fuel or specialty chemicals.
Each of these processes adds value to what was once considered waste. In fact, the company estimates the $12.3 billion it gets for delivering waste to landfills may be worth more than $40 billion a year in energy.
With numbers like this, it is clear that energy recovery has major economic potential.