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Business at the Mars Snackfood U.S. plant in Waco, Texas, has never been sweeter. On May 13, members of the company were joined by officials from the Environmental Protection Agency to flip the switch on its first landfill gas project, a venture that will cut the company’s energy costs and the release of greenhouse gases into the environment.
The project will use methane gas that is piped in from the city landfill to power two furnaces that create steam for the plant’s candy-making operations.
“Turning waste into energy is a smart strategy for business and the environment,” said EPA regional administrator Richard E. Greene. “EPA is pleased to be working with partners like Mars Snackfood on innovative projects like this one that deliver clean, renewable sources of energy.”
In addition to saving the company $600,000 a year in energy costs, the project will also reduce more than 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, which has the same environmental impact of avoiding the emissions of 1,900 cars. Methane, a primary component of landfill gas, is a greenhouse gas over 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
“More than being a decision about the bottom line, this project is about taking responsibility for the future – for our business, for our Associates and their children, for our community, and definitely for our environment. And the story today is not simply about Mars alone. It is a story of deep commitment and concern by multiple partners at every level in government in Texas. Again, I congratulate our partners in government, especially the City of Waco, the County of McLennan and the EPA, for their visionary leadership and dedication to a sustainable future for all,” said MARS Snackfood US president Todd Lachman.
Mars Snackfood joins a growing list of companies to complete waste-to-energy projects as part of EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP). There are currently 21 operational projects in Texas and a total of 34 throughout the five-state area that makes up EPA Region 6.
To foster more development of waste-to-energy resources, EPA Region 6 has developed a pilot Waste-to-Energy (WTE) Strategic Geographic Planning tool that is designed to link waste producers with end users by identifying optimum locations for such projects. The region is currently working with the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to expand the pilot to a national scale.
LMOP is a voluntary technical assistance and partnership program that helps businesses and communities reduce methane emissions from landfills by encouraging the recovery and use of landfill gas as a renewable energy source. The program also assists countries throughout the world in developing landfill methane reduction projects through the international Methane to Markets Partnership. Since 1994, LMOP has assisted in developing more than 330 landfill gas projects in the United States, reducing methane emissions by over 24 million metric tons of carbon equivalent.
Additional information on the LMOP program is available at http://www.epa.gov/lmop.
To learn more about activities in EPA Region 6, visit http://www.epa.gov/region6.
An EPA audio file is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/audio.htm#audio051308_mars.