Byron Center, Michigan
Byron Center, Michigan
Landfill Gas Capture
ReimagineTrash.org—that's the website of Michigan's Kent County Department of Public Works. The site's name tells a lot about the department's innovative commitment to sustainability.
The department started its landfill gas-to-energy project in 2008. It installed wells and pipes in the South Kent Landfill to collect the methane and other gases produced by decomposition of buried organic materials. Originally, the landfill simply burned the methane via a flare. That creates carbon dioxide (and water), but because methane is 25 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas, flaring is still environmentally beneficial compared to letting the methane seep into the atmosphere.
In 2009, the landfill installed two electric generators with a combined capacity of 3.2 megawatts. That earned it recognition by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Landfill Methane Outreach Program as Community Partner of the Year.
The methane is now burned in the generators, feeding electricity into the local power grid. The landfill also accepts electronics, holiday light strings, and appliances for recycling, and chemicals and other hazardous household wastes for safe disposal. The department operates a Waste to Energy Facility at another site that burns nonhazardous waste to generate electricity.
All of that is just a start. The department has set what it admits is a "bold goal": to divert 90% of trash from its landfills by 2030. To make that possible, it plans a 250-acre Sustainable Business Park next to the South Kent Landfill. The department's website explains: "The Sustainable Business Park will attract companies that specialize in reclaiming or converting waste materials that might otherwise be dumped into the landfill into usable materials, such as fuel pellets, plastic flake, compost and more. There are opportunities for complementary businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs to tap into these reclaimed or converted materials and transform them into new products, including clothing, automotive components, or animal feed." We look forward to seeing how the park develops.
Cloverly buys offsets that meet accepted standards for being real, measurable, verifiable, permanent, and additional. "Additional" means that the carbon savings would not have happened without the offset project and that the project would not have happened unless it got certified to sell carbon offsets. The Climate Action Reserve oversees verification of the South Kent project. You can find verification documents at https://thereserve2.apx.com/mymodule/reg/prjView.asp?id1=443.
For an interactive map of the projects in our portfolio, see https://www.cloverly.com/project-map.
Climate Action Reserve