Evaluating Subsidies for Landfill Gas to Energy Programs


Prepared for the National Recycling Coalition, 2001.

Subsidies to methane recovery at solid waste landfills is often supported on the grounds that it encourages energy diversification and prevents the emissions of important greenhouse gases to the environment. However, this analysis suggests that the magnitude of existing and proposed subsidies to landfill methane recovery can undermine the economics of the recycling programs that compete with landfills as a solid waste management strategy. A better approach would be to treat landfills as any polluting business would be treated, requiring them to curb harmful emissions as part of their cost of operations.