Landfill gas, or biogas, is recognized by the U.S. EPA as a renewable energy resource and is used beneficially as a fossil fuel alternative. WM captures landfill gas and turns it into renewable electricity and fuel at 146 of the active landfills we own or operate. Crucially, biogas is a form of “baseload” renewable energy, which means it can be used nearly continuously, unaffected by changes in weather or other variables. Today, WM operates the largest landfill gas-to-energy program in North America, generating five times more renewable electricity from our landfills than we use as a company.
Beyond electricity generation, we are also a leader in converting landfill gas into natural gas fuels that are distributed for use in residences, businesses and commercial vehicles, including our own. Renewable natural gas (RNG), produced from processed landfill gas, now fuels over 55% of our natural gas trucks.
We are continually looking for opportunities to develop projects that enable landfill gas to be beneficially used as renewable electricity or renewable fuel, including nitrogen rejection technologies and new forms of carbon capture. Proximity and accessibility to energy infrastructure makes projects more cost effective. While larger landfills tend to have greater potential, smaller landfills can also support beneficial use projects.