Complying with the EPA's GHG reporting rule may cost some landfills nearly $5,000 this year, but if the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill becomes law, landfills may be able to earn money by providing landfill gas and selling emissions permits. Photo: © Michael Zysman |

The Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill recognizes landfill gas and WTE as renewable resources. Thus, solid waste operations could sell permits.

“This provides financial incentives and opens up funding opportunities for these facilities,” says SWANA's Skinner. “It also creates incentive for companies to use energy provided by these operations.”

The bill was passed by the House in June. The next step is the Senate, which has similar bills in committees.

In the meantime, Skinner advises managers to start measuring and understanding their emissions, even if they're not required to report them. “Stay informed and start planning. This is real and it's coming fast.”

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Global downturn hits U.S. recycling

Municipal recycling programs took a hit last year as local governments cut back on services and the international market for recyclables shrank (demand from Chinese manufacturers plunged as that country's economy slowed down).

Judging from member feedback, John Skinner, executive director and CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America, says the recycling market is finally getting better, but it's far from good. For example, in 2009 old corrugated containers sold for $39/ton; a far cry from the 2008 high of $135/ton. Currently, the price is back to more than $100/ton in some markets.