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Methane traps roughly 86 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. The greenhouse gas is powerful yet short-lived. If we reduce methane emissions now, we can tackle the second-biggest contributor to climate change in our lifetimes.

Waste sites emit vast amounts of methane and are located all over the world. But there is limited information about which waste sites are the highest emitters, and the root causes of emissions are not well known.

To reduce emissions in the waste sector, we need to get a handle on the exact sources of methane.

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Tracking an
Invisible Risk

Waste methane is quickly
warming the planet.

It’s entirely possible to detect,
measure, and manage methane.

Big Problem,
Targeted Solution

While the scale of this challenge may seem daunting, studies show that a small fraction of sites tend to be responsible for a disproportionate amount of methane emissions.

370 million cars

Did you know?

An estimated 68 million metric tons of methane from waste, primarily solid waste, are released each year, the carbon dioxide equivalent of roughly 370 million cars.

Big Problem,
Targeted Solution

While the scale of this challenge may seem daunting, studies show that a small fraction of sites tend to be responsible for a disproportionate amount of methane emissions.

Knowing exactly where these emissions are coming from, down to the level of an individual facility or a piece of equipment, can inform the best solutions to tackle the problem.

Did you know?

Methane emissions from landfills and dumpsites are largely out of sight and out of mind. The waste sector accounts for 18% of human-caused methane emissions globally.

With adequate financing and incentives, research shows that it’s technically feasible to reduce methane emissions from municipal solid waste by 80% within this decade.

We Detect
and Quantify
Waste Sector Emissions

Carbon Mapper pinpoints the exact sources of waste methane using advanced remote sensing technology and analytics. We quantify waste facility methane emissions and provide insights into the root causes.

This information enables landfill operators, policymakers, or regulators to take informed action toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We focus on identifying the small fraction of waste sites with large potential for emissions reductions.

Dive deeper

To learn more about this issue, check out this podcast with Dr. Eugene Tseng, a waste management researcher.

How it Works

01. Remote sensing

Advanced satellite and airborne remote sensing technologies survey thousands of waste sites and provide precise information about the location and quantity of methane emitted from individual sites.

02. Comprehensive monitoring

With more satellites, continuous and systematic methane monitoring will allow us to map emission sources around the world and accurately assess emission trends.

03. Increased analysis

The more frequently we sample, the better we’re able to inform action to mitigate methane emissions and achieve sustainability goals.

04. Operator support

Our data pinpoints the sources of emissions for waste site operators, helping them prioritize mitigation efforts and investments.

05. Information sharing

This data also informs policymakers, regulators, and the general public.

    How it Works

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Case Study

Slashing Emissions at Sunshine Canyon
Monitoring methane

During airborne surveys of California in 2016, remote sensing aircraft detected massive methane plumes over the Sunshine Canyon Landfill.

A collaborative process

Our team shared data with the local enforcement agency and landfill operators at Sunshine Canyon, who worked together to determine that the emissions were due to problems with surface cover.

Mitigation efforts

Over the next two years, overflights continued producing data for landfill operators to inform and validate infrastructure improvements.

Community benefit

Reduced methane at the Sunshine Canyon Landfill correlated with a 55-60% reduction in community odor complaints.

Technology that pays for itself

Shoring up problem areas also led to increased gas collected by the landfill for use as fuel elsewhere.

What's Next

In 2023,
working with the Carbon Mapper Coalition, we will begin to deploy an emissions monitoring system from space.
In 2024,
we will deliver the first comprehensive global assessment of the highest methane emitting sites in the solid waste sector.
Our ultimate goal is
to provide routine, actionable methane data for 90% of solid waste sites globally and help translate that data into emission reduction action.