Green Star? You be the judge – Wilmington Attempts Good Use of Bad Rubbish

I came across a piece of Wilmington City news today, and my first thought was “Oh great, a new Green Star to give out! And it’s local too, even better!” The gist of it is that Wilmington, DE is now harvesting the methane gas produced by landfills, turning it into a fuel source for their water treatment plant, and in the process reducing the waste produced during the plant’s normal operation. Yay, Green Star! Right? Not so fast.

I started having an itty-bitty problem when I got to this step in the plan (emphasis mine):

  • Capturing the methane gas generated by digesters at the plant and combining it with gas produced by the adjacent Cherry Island Landfill to create a renewable, self-perpetuating fuel source to power the plant instead of more costly electricity purchased from a power utility.

I’m all for sustainable, renewable energy (like solar!) but… I’m not so sure whether the combination of landfills and methane byproducts belong in that category. If it reduces the overall emissions in the area as much as the planners project, that’s a step in the right direction and I’m all for it. But if the tradeoff is a system that relies on continuing wasteful practices in landfills, and hinders technological developments that could prevent the biomass waste and methane emissions from the plant in the first place, then maybe it’s not as great as it sounds on the surface.

So help me out people – do we give them a Green Star or not? Leave your reasons in the comments!

Until next time,