When you think of landfills, you may get the visuals of a piles of waste and garbage stacked high. Maybe heavy machinery doing what it can to disperse or birds flying overhead.

But what about what you can't see in landfills?

And what you can't see is the almost 120 million metric tons of carbon dioxide

From EPA.gov:

The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks is updated annually. Per the most recent Inventory Report, U.S. landfills released an estimated 119.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) of methane into the atmosphere in 2022; this represents 17.1 percent of the total U.S. anthropogenic methane emissions across all sectors. MSW landfills contributed 100.9 MMTCO2e (14.4 percent of total U.S. methane emissions) while industrial landfills contributed the remaining 18.9 MMTCO2e (2.7 percent of total).

Washington State's New Regulations to Help Control CO2 Emissions

KHQ is reporting that new regulations for Washington State landfills are set in place to hopefully alleviate some of the emissions that landfills cause.

This includes the installation of a machine for methane processing and collection which has the ability to significantly reduce methane emissions.

They are also working on ways to eliminate food waste which accounts for 58% of those methane emissions. You see a lot of food disposal for compost both at home and places like Sea-Tac airport and many Seattle restaurants so instead of food ending up in a landfill it'll end up something something for good. That's a win-win.

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LOOK: 50 Washington Innovations

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Gallery Credit: Jaime Skelton

LOOK: Washington State's 33 Endangered Species

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Gallery Credit: Jaime Skelton

Counties with the worst droughts in Washington

Washington State is continuing its drought emergency into 2024, citing low snowpack and hot, dry forecasts. Here are the counties most affected by drought, based on data from the U.S. Drought Monitor to identify the counties in Washington with the worst droughts in the week leading up to April 30, 2024.
Note: "Abnormally dry" is not considered to be a drought, but is included as a separate data point.

Gallery Credit: Jaime Skelton

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