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Waste Management Announces Waste-based Alternative Energy Initiatives Across North America

Waste Management, today announced a major initiative to expand its roster of landfill gas to energy (LFGTE) facilities. The program will result in the creation of an additional 60 renewable energy facilities in North America over the next five years. Together with its existing LFGTE facilities, Waste Management will generate more than 700 megawatts of clean renewable energy - enough to power 700,000 homes or replace over eight million barrels of oil per year in North America.

Waste Management plans to bring its four landfills in Ontario and two landfills in Quebec on line within the next five years.

"We've proven that landfill gas to energy is a viable option for Canadian jurisdictions," said Paul Pabor, vice president of renewable energy. "We've had tremendous success with our Sainte-Sophie landfill site in Quebec that saved a local paper mill from being shut down in 2005 by supplying 75 per cent of its energy needs. The site reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 540,000 tons a year - the equivalent of removing about 120,000 cars from the roads.

"It is important for the rest of Canada to follow the lead of Sainte-Sophie and many U.S. jurisdictions who have embraced landfill gas to energy technology."

The LFGTE initiative, which will generate enough electricity to power approximately 230,000 homes, will position the company to serve the growing market for renewable energy. In recent years, consumer awareness of environmental issues has quickly increased demand for new sources of renewable energy. LFGTE projects are especially valuable to utilities because they provide dependable base load power, in contrast to the intermittent nature of other renewable energy sources.

A pioneer in LFGTE projects, Waste Management designed and operated its first such facility in the United States over 20 years ago. With 281 landfills, Waste Management is North America's largest landfill operator and is in a unique position to expand waste-based renewable power generation in Canada. The company is also exploring partnerships to expand its landfill gas to energy technology to other private and municipal landfills.

Landfill gas, produced when microorganisms break down organic material in the landfill, is comprised of approximately 50 to 60 per cent methane and 40 to 50 per cent carbon dioxide. At most landfills in Canada, these greenhouse gases are simply burned off, or "flared". However, Waste Management sites that have LFGTE facilities collect the methane and use it to fuel onsite engines or turbines, generating electricity to power surrounding homes and neighborhoods while creating a new revenue stream for the landfills. By building LFGTE facilities, Waste Management reduces greenhouse gases by offsetting the use of fossil fuel at the utility power plants.

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