# Frequent question: How much methane is created in landfills?

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## How much landfill gas is produced?

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that in 2020 about 256 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of landfill gas was collected at 327 U.S. landfills and burned to generate about 10 billion kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity, or about 0.3% of total U.S. utility-scale electricity generation in 2020.

## How does landfill waste produce methane?

Methane is emitted when biodegradable wastes – most importantly food and paper/card – decompose anaerobically (i.e. in the absence of oxygen).

## Do landfills capture methane?

Landfills are a top source of methane emissions, releasing 12 percent of the world’s total. Landfill methane can be tapped, captured, and used as a fairly clean energy source for generating electricity or heat, rather than leaking into the air or being dispersed as waste.

## What percent of the countries methane emissions come from landfills?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), landfill gas (LFG) comprises 17.7 percent of all U.S. methane emissions. Landfill methane in 2011 accounted for 103 million metric tonnes of carbon equivalent released into the atmosphere.

## How long will a landfill produce methane gas?

Landfills usually produce appreciable amounts of gas within 1 to 3 years. Peak gas production usually occurs 5 to 7 years after wastes are dumped. Almost all gas is produced within 20 years after waste is dumped; however, small quantities of gas may continue to be emitted from a landfill for 50 or more years.

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## How much more harmful is methane than CO2?

Methane is a powerful greenhouses gas with a 100-year global warming potential 28-34 times that of CO2.

## How is landfill gas calculated?

Total LFG generation is equal to the methane generation rate divided by the volume fraction of methane assumed in the LFG. For example, two times the calculated methane generation if the LFG is assumed to contain 50 percent methane (QLFG = Q/0.5 = 2Q).