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Recycling of garbage turned out to be a threat to the planet

The U.S. recycling industry, beloved by eco-activists for its recycling efforts, is causing far more damage to the planet than they think, writes Reuters.

Conclusions about the potential threat can be drawn based on data from years of monitoring commissioned by California's air quality regulators. Landfills were found to account for 43 percent of recorded emissions of methane, a gas that contributes to global warming. In this, they bypass both fossil fuel producers and agriculture.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Scientific Aviation, a company that tracks emissions, have been collecting data since 2016. It turned out that the work of some landfills of the leading garbage operators in the United States led to the formation of six times more methane than the US Environmental Protection Agency believed. The ten largest landfills in terms of emissions produced about twice as much gas as the authorities had expected.

A study conducted in California shows that the global recycling industry may be playing a much bigger role in accelerating global warming than regulators had anticipated. It also demonstrates possible omissions in the United Nations (UN) guidelines for estimating methane emissions, scientists say.

Now the leading American companies engaged in waste recycling — Waste Management Inc and Republic Services-are included in the Dow Jones Global Sustainability Index (Sustainability World Index), which acts as a reference point for those who want to invest in socially responsible projects. Among the major investors in these companies are funds controlled by billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates and the founder of one of the world's largest investment companies, BlackRock, Larry Fink. They are both actively campaigning for businesses to pay attention to climate issues.

On June 4, there was a leak of 2.7 million cubic meters of gas. The problem was discovered by the company Kayrros, which previously recorded emissions in the area of coal mines in South Africa.

Methane is considered one of the main causes of global warming, which is already creating problems not only for the planet but also for the economy. Due to climate change, manufacturers of equipment and products face difficulties.

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