Turning your kitchen scraps into clean energy

May 21, 2008

Earlier this month, I toured a Waste Management landfill in Simi Valley, California as part of our series on how companies are turning household garbage and other waste into clean electricity. For our full coverage, click here.

The landfill, which is about 40 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, surprised me at first because it didn’t smell and the 300 feet of trash was covered in dirt and grass. It looked just like an ordinary hillside.

On one side of the mound, however, trash from all over Ventura County was being flattened and buried into the ground, where the methane gas it produces will be collected and produced into energy to power 2,500 homes. This prevents the methane, which is 21 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide, from entering the atmosphere.

In this video, Waste Management spokeswoman Kit Cole explains the process of burying household trash in the landfill to turn it into electricity:


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You do not talk about the negative effects these landfills have on our earth. landfills release harmful chemicals into the earths surface and pollutes our water source. You should consider using garbage as a fuel source but not from landfills.

Posted by amanda and lexi | Report as abusive

While I can respect what you’ve had to say, there are many of us who live in Simi Valley who don’t want to see this landfill double in size, let alone WM use the other 2800 acres to dump Los Angeles trash that they purchased a few years back… You might want to read this website to get the other side of the story – http://www.notellingwhatyouwillfind.com/ topics/SimiLandfill.htm

Posted by Linda Nelson | Report as abusive

If you dont want your landfills to grow in size, start in your home and grocery store, becareful of what you buy and what you throw away,, landfills are only huge because we fill them up with trash that we throw away.. try to recycle and reuse more often.

Posted by ginger | Report as abusive

Waste Management has a track record of excellence. They will use technology to handle the large volumes we produce. The answer to reducing or eliminating landfills is to eliminate waste as individuals. Mulch landscape clippings, recycle kitchen waste in your mulch pile, take the time to carefully recycle your waste, refuse to buy items with elaborate packaging, don’t whine about a landfill near your home, change the way you and your neighbors live.

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive

im sorry to see so many people misguiding others with their opinions, for example, I think these opinionated people own oil stocks.
heres the facts.
before a garbage dump is designated there must be a thick layer of concrete then plastic then concrete again separating the discard from the ground.
Im going to presume a similar method covers the top of the refuse since youl need to trap the gas… like in a balloon or something (I think this is right since the lady clearly stated the garbage has to be “as compacted as possible” and evened out)
also your the same baboons with your opinions who muffle the watter engine so gas will keep rising until collapse.

don’t get me started on how OIL is the PRIMARY pollutant in MY FOOD.

Posted by Igor | Report as abusive