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from the employee owners at Gardener's Supply Co.

Rerouting One-Way Waste

What does a decades-closed landfill have in common with local foods and fresh fish, algae and biodiesel? They’re all closely linked together in a new energy-creation and economic cycle: one that offsets harmful greenhouse gases while bettering the environment and benefiting the community.

What does a decades-closed landfill have in common with local foods and fresh fish, algae and biodiesel? They’re all closely linked together in a new energy-creation and economic cycle: one that offsets harmful greenhouse gases while bettering the environment and benefiting the community. Brattleboro, VT, and Carbon Harvest Energy are working to prove that renewable energy and sustainable agriculture are good not only for the earth, but also for the bottom line.

Carbon Harvest Energy, a two-year-old company based in Burlington, created the Brattleboro Renewable Energy and Sustainable Agriculture Project. The project is designed to revive an offline landfill, which decades ago generated methane gas for energy. In addition, it is hoped that the project will become the first link in a chain that uses and reuses power — and virtually every waste product generated — for good. When complete, it will be the first integrated, renewable energy-to-agriculture, algae feed and biodiesel project in the country: Burning the methane for power will offset roughly the equivalent of 20,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, and a portion of leftover CO2 will be harvested for algae production.

Learn more about the project at willraap.org

2 Comments

  1. December 6, 2010    

    The advantages of this kind of project are illusory. Landfilling generates the most methane (up to 100 times worse than CO2 in the short term) while the filling is going on. That’s well before a collection system can be put into place in an active fill, and before any gas can be harvested. Meanwhile, landfilling to create energy makes resources unrecoverable that could have been used to reindustrialize our country. We could be making our own products again with our own resources instead of borrowing from the Chinese to buy the things they make with the jobs that we gave them. Far from being a benefit, this project is one further step toward impoverishing our country and turning ourselves into a Third World nation. Zero Waste and total materials recovery have the potential to prevent more greenhouse gases than taking all, yes all, the cars off the roads. And it would generate sustainable jobs and prevent landfilling’s pollution at the same time. This landfill idea, called a “bioreactor,” is a new way for wasting companies to ensure long-term collection monopolies with profit margins up to 35%. Meanwhile we continue to borrow from other countries to support our consumerism. There’s a much better direction. But to take it, we can’t promise our supply of discarded resources to the wasting companies.
    Mary Lou Van Deventer, Urban Ore, Berkeley, California, past president of the Northern California Recycling Association. marylouvan@urbanore.com

  2. December 12, 2010    

    Every little bit helps. Our University of N.H. is currently using power from the methane gas harvested from a local landfill under the supervision of Waste Management. Every one chuckled when this was first talked about but, now that it’s a reality no one is laughing

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We are an employee-owned company of avid gardeners, located in Burlington, VT.