Lebanon is installing a system to get electricity from the methane produced by its landfill. It costs more than $5 million but “even conservative estimates show that it will be revenue positive during its first year, earning enough to cover the city’s bond payments and replenish the solid waste fund,” according to this story in the Valley News.
The question is: Why the heck did this take 13 years to do? Landfill gas isn’t perfect, of course, but there’s no reason on earth not to take advantage of methane that’s being released into the atmosphere. You have to make sure the system doesn’t end up encouraging more waste – something that can happen with trash-to-energy plants, which don’t get enough dry trash in winter to produce the electricity they want to sell – but that’s no reason to avoid the whole project.
I assume the problem was up-front cost at town meeting. The problem is usually money.