Waste not, want not. From landfills to sewage treatment plants, innovators around the country are working on ways to reduce humanity's environmental footprint and get more from our waste. This week, energyNOW! explores the ways people are "going green" in unlikely areas.
Trash Gas for Trash Trucks
Natural resources may be limited, but humanity's consumption guarantees an abundance of one unlikely "resource" - garbage. On average, a typical American throws out about four pounds of trash per day, or more than 240 million tons of garbage every year. Most of that waste winds up in landfills and releases methane as it decomposes. But what if that gas could be harnessed as a clean energy source?
Correspondent Peter Standring visits a California landfill to see how one waste disposal company is turning trash from its landfills into clean-burning fuel for trash trucks.
Alternative truck fuel isn't the only kind of energy technology being pioneered at landfills. In fact, an energy company and a landfill operator in Georgia have found a way to generate solar power.
energyNOW! goes to see the project, a massive membrane with solar panels that covers giant mounds of trash.
Poop to Plastic
Landfills aren't the only place innovators are turning waste into green products. Sewage treatment plants could be a gold mine in the quest to replace the millions of barrels of petroleum used every year to make plastic for packaging.
Correspondent Lee Patrick Sullivan gets a whiff of how sewer sludge is being turned into sustainable plastic to reduce the nation's oil consumption.
Dying to Be Green
One of the hardest things to talk about in life is death, and what happens after we pass away. But there's a growing movement to consider the environment when planning a funeral.
Chief correspondent Tyler Suiters looks into how "green" burials and cremations allow people to make sure their death conserves energy and protects the planet.