A better use for closed landfills

Darcy Hitchcock

Once a landfill is full of trash, it’s sealed with plastic, clay and dirt. (More about sealing here.) But there may still be methane leaking from it and god knows what chemicals brewing underneath. It’s costly to clean them up for use as wildlife parks or golf courses. Instead there’s a trend to turn them into solar farms.

Recent data released by World Resources Institute and the Resource Management Institute (RMI) has found that local governments across the United States harvested significant amounts of energy from solar plants built in closed landfills last year. The report found a total of 21 landfills that had been utilized to generate 207 megawatts of solar power. This shows a 10-fold increase in energy produced from such lands in recent years.

Landfills cover a large amount of acreage. There are over 1250 landfills in the US now but there were over 6300 in…

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