Industry’s 3 largest landfill operators among California’s biggest methane emitters: report

NASA data shows Republic Services, Waste Connections and Waste Management among the state’s “super-emitters.”

Nasa Data Center Credit: NASA-JPL

Republic Services, Waste Connections and Waste Management are among California’s leading methane “super-emitters,” according to a report from Truvalue Research Labs based on NASA data. The new Truvalue research indicates that distinction could potentially cost the companies amid growing concerns about climate change.

California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) contracted with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to locate top methane point sources for single sites in the state from 2016 to 2018. JPL’s findings, released in a November 2019 report, covered more than 272,000 infrastructure elements in the state. It found “the largest methane emitters in California are a subset of landfills,” noting the three waste companies and the oil and gas-focused California Resources Corporation (CRC) each represented more than 2% of individual site emissions.

Credit: Truvalue

“For the waste industry, it means more attention than ever before,” said Eliot Caroom, product manager for Truvalue. Caroom noted NASA scientists say the trends might be “outliers and avoidable,” but he told Waste Dive the findings could still heighten regulatory and shareholder attention on methane emissions from landfills.

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