A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Tim Wells: In Louisville, Waste Management strives for sustainability, a template for others

Louisville is home to iconic landmarks, expansive parks, the mighty Ohio River and a downtown area rich with culture and history. There is no denying it’s a beautiful city.
Over the years, local officials and community leaders have protected the area’s natural assets while creating a clean and vibrant environment for its citizens.
The business community has also stepped up to make Louisville more sustainable for today’s residents and for generations to come. Waste Management is leading the way by investing $30 million in state-of-the-art renewable energy infrastructure at our Outer Loop Recycling and Disposal Facility, which collects approximately one million tons of waste from area homes and businesses each year.

Tim Wells

This innovative process captures the methane gas generated from the waste you discard and converts it to usable, renewable energy. From this point forward, your waste will be put to work, fueling local homes, schools, businesses, and our fleet of compressed natural gas collection trucks, all with clean, environmentally friendly Renewable Natural Gas (RNG).
The facility generates enough gas in a single day to fuel 800 trucks—the equivalent of 12,000 homes. Decades from now, when the landfill has reached capacity, Waste Management will still be producing renewable energy, extending the life of this asset for many years to come.
Our Outer Loop facility already provides a much-needed community service by disposing of the household and commercial waste we collect every day in a manner protective of the environment. It only makes sense for us to go one step further and put it to good use.
Like wind, solar, and other biofuels, landfill gas is a renewable source of fuel and energy endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency as an alternative to fossil fuels. Waste Management is a leader in this important renewable resource, with 130 projects at our landfills around the country having the equivalent of more than 650 megawatts of capacity, which is enough to power 490,000 homes.
Sustainability goes beyond what’s best for the environment, it’s about caring for the community as a whole. Cities like Louisville that invest in sustainable infrastructure such as public transit, building efficiency and waste management services can expect a significant return on investment as their energy costs go down. Putting more sustainable systems in place now will set up future generations of Louisville residents for economic and environmental success.
From Jim Beam Distilleries and Churchill Downs to the Yum! Center and even your local schools, Waste Management is proud to partner with the leaders of Louisville and continue to make our city more sustainable.
With your support, the city’s leadership and our continued investments in renewable energy infrastructure, Louisville is headed toward a bright and sustainable future.
Tim Wells is area vice president for Waste Management in Louisville.

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