Gas too expensive? Biofuels will let you fill up with trash!


When I was growing up in Northern Virginia, we didn't have garbage service or handy dumpsters; instead, we used to handle trash all by ourselves. Every week, we would load up the car, drive a mile or two, go down a long road, and dump our refuse into a big hole in the earth. While our neighborhood, "Cannon Ridge," had once been the highest spot in our area, it was ultimately eclipsed by "Mount Trashmore," the neighborhood landfill.

Years later, after the county covered the huge mound of trash with a layer of dirt, a friend and I went out for a walk on our local monument to garbage. Dropping a match, we watched as it made a little flare; the rotting garbage was producing methane, an explosive gas. This was not an uncommon situation in Northern Virginia. In fact, the Lorton reformatory, a nearby prison that was located close to a landfill, acquired a measure of regional fame for its occasional methane explosions.