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Landfill Methane Outreach Program

Talking Points for Landfill Gas Energy Projects

Many speakers or interviewees develop and use “talking points” to remind them of key points to emphasize. Remember to keep your points succinct and simple enough for non-technical audiences.

An important part of your outreach efforts might involve speaking about your project to community leaders and groups. Organizations such as the Rotary Club, PTAs, environmental organizations, local government committees and officials, neighborhood associations, chambers of commerce, and other community organizations will appreciate the efforts made to meet with them. They will also learn about something new, as many people are not familiar with landfill gas energy projects. Talking about your project in person can create valuable connections with community leaders and other influential people and gain support and recognition for your efforts. The talking points below provide suggestions to use in an LMOP event.

Facts about landfills and landfill gas.

  • Landfill gas is created when waste in a landfill decomposes.
  • Landfill gas contains about half methane and half carbon dioxide, with small amounts of oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen, and trace amounts of hazardous air pollutants (less than 0.2%).
  • Landfill gas causes odors at a landfill.
  • Landfills are the third-largest anthropogenic (human-related) source of methane in the United States.
  • Combustion of landfill gas in an engine, turbine, boiler, or flare significantly reduces odors and emissions of methane and hazardous air pollutants. The minimal amount of dioxins generated during combustion is preferable to exposing people to the health threats associated with the release of uncontrolled landfill gas.

Why should uncontrolled landfill gas emissions concern the public?

  • Uncontrolled landfill gas emissions are harmful to the environment.
  • Landfill gas emissions contribute to local smog and air quality problems.
  • Uncontrolled emissions of landfill gas are odorous and potentially explosive.
  • The methane in landfill gas is a potent greenhouse gas.

How can methane emissions from landfills be controlled?

  • Landfill gas can be captured and the methane used as a source of energy.
  • The methane can be used to generate electricity or provide boiler fuel for local facilities with a large and constant demand for energy.
  • Other applications of methane are: to heat greenhouses, as a vehicle fuel, and to treat leachate. It can also be upgraded and injected into natural gas pipelines.

What are the economic benefits of using landfill gas?

  • Landfill gas is a cost-effective, reliable, and local source of energy.
  • Using landfill gas can generate economic benefits for the community.
  • Developing and maintaining a landfill gas energy project creates local jobs.
  • A landfill with good power potential can attract business to the community.

What are the environmental and social benefits of using landfill gas?

  • Landfill gas is a safe and renewable energy source.
  • Using landfill gas reduces the need to use more polluting forms of energy, such as coal and oil.
  • Using landfill gas reduces health and community risks, such as air pollution and odor, associated with landfills.
  • Landfills that use their landfill gas tend to be better managed and make better neighbors.

Talking Points document (PDF) (1 pg, 20 K, About PDF) or MS Word (1 pg, 27 K, About MS Word Exiting EPA)

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