Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Heard anything lately about global warming?  Whether you believe in anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change or not, it is definitely a “hot” button for environmentalists.  Furthermore, the necessity of reducing greenhouse gas emissions became law in California when AB 32 was signed in September 2006.

The law targets activities that release “greenhouse gases” such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, carbon tetrafluoride, hexafluorothane, perfluorobutane, perfluorohexane and sulfur hexafluorides into the air.  These gases exist in various quantities and their potencies are usually given with respect to carbon dioxide, the most prevalent greenhouse gas.  Methane, for instance, is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping the sun’s heat within the earth’s atmosphere.  At the other end of the scale, sulfur hexafluoride is over 22,000 times as strong as carbon dioxide.

All of these chemicals have been pumped into the atmosphere throughout the history of the planet, but most heavily since the onset of the industrial age.  The burning of fossil fuels to produce energy and run motor vehicles is a major contribution to greenhouse gas production.

Landfills are also major producers of methane which results from the decomposition of organic materials.  “Organic materials” means anything which was once alive, including food waste, yard waste, and paper products.  The California Integrated Waste Management Board, the agency created to implement and oversee compliance with AB 939, estimates that 60% of the materials now being discarded in landfills could be captured for recycling or composting.  Every ton that is kept out of the landfill represents nearly a ton of greenhouse gas reduction. 

A review of landfill statistics compiled by the state indicates that in the high desert alone, over $6 million worth of recyclables are being discarded in the landfill annually.  This is not only a huge waste of money, it represents a serious contribution to the greenhouse gas problem.

Do your part in your corner of the environment:

  • Waste as little as possible. 
  • Learn how to compost. 
  • Recycle as much as possible. 
  • Throw away as little as possible. 

What was it our parents (or great-grandparents) said during World War II?  "Use it up.  Wear it out.  Make it do, or do without."  A little bit of Yankee ingenuity and a lot of common sense will make you a terrific recycler, a dynamite composter and an environmental hero!

Call 760-240-7000 with questions.