Let’s get trashed

Waste that creates a buzz.

Trash is power in Tucson. When your discarded leftovers and old junk decompose in the Los Reales Landfill, they produce a greenhouse gas called methane. The City of Tucson collects this methane and delivers it to TEP, which uses it to help fuel the H. Wilson Sundt Generating Station. This means your fridge could be running today on power produced from the leftover food it was keeping cold last year.

Here’s a look at this sustainable and useful practice by the numbers:

9,400 tons of methane produced per year at the Los Reales Landfill. Each pound of waste produces about 3 cubic feet of landfill gas.

2,280 of typical Tucson homes that could have been powered entirely by energy from TEP's landfill gas generation system in 2014. The system's output, which averages between 2-3 megawatts, is actually shared by all TEP customers.

100 methane extraction wells located throughout the landfill (45 are in use). These wells vacuum up gas from decomposing trash.

3.5 miles of pipe stretching from the landfill to the Sundt Generating Station. Before methane makes the journey, equipment at the landfill pressurizes, dehydrates and chills the gas.

18% of all U.S. methane emissions are produced at landfills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, trapping more than 20 times as much heat as carbon dioxide. So TEP’s landfill gas generation efforts have far-reaching environmental benefits.

A Second Life