Electricity from trash

Waste Management is creating electricity from rotting garbage at 100 of its landfills, and plans more such projects. This is a double win, as the methane gas produced by the garbage has a 21 times worse greenhouse gas effect than carbon dioxide. But now it can be captured to create energy rather than being emitted into the atmosphere.

You’d think enviros would applaud this, but no.

Nathanael Greene, director of renewable energy policy for the Natural Resources Defence Council, said touting the benefits of landfills was akin to putting “lipstick on a pig.” Instead, we should be trying harder to reduce waste.

Well of course we need to reduce waste. But criticizing the capture of noxious methane for good use is emblematic of the old-school environmentalism that insists we must cut back on everything and go live in yurts as penance for our environmental sins. They don’t get, or refuse to get, that technology and more than a few large corporations can and are providing solutions.

It won’t be those living in yurts that create a renewable energy economy. Rather, it will happen as a result of the efforts of large corporations and governments, because they are the only ones with the resources to do so. Enviros need to praise and encourage such entities when they do the right thing, not myopically attack them for not being pristinely perfect.

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