We all want cleaner air in Baltimore City. But without a plan to manage our current waste crisis, the City Council’s proposed Clean Air Act will do just the opposite.

Auto emissions are by far the largest source of air emissions in Baltimore City.

  • Cars travelling in Baltimore City produce 4 times the emissions of Wheelabrator Baltimore.
  • Highway gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles traveling in Baltimore City are the largest source of emissions by far at 46% – four times that of Wheelabrator Baltimore.
  • The Environmental Integrity Project’s 2017 report, “Asthma and Air Pollution in Baltimore City” stated “it is likely that on-road vehicles are the largest contributor to the air pollution that people breath in Baltimore. This is because there is significant traffic congestion in the area and because vehicle tailpipes, which are relatively close to ground-level, do not disperse pollution as widely as taller smokestacks.”

Waste-to-Energy is the only alternative to landfills.

  • Diverting waste from landfills reduces greenhouse gas emissions that landfills emit and reduces the consumption of fossil fuels necessary to transport waste to landfills.
  • The only alternative to waste-to-energy is landfilling. Without Wheelabrator Baltimore’s waste-to-energy facility, Baltimore City would send hundreds of thousands of tons of additional waste to landfills each year, including the recyclable metals that Wheelabrator pulls out of the waste stream for recycling.
  • At current disposal rates, the remaining capacity of municipal landfills in Maryland is only an estimated 31 years. Waste-to-energy facilities in comparison have indefinite lives if maintained properly.
  • The U.S. EPA prefers waste-to-energy over landfilling for the management of post-recycled waste, stating that: “Converting non-recyclable waste materials into electricity and heat generates a renewable energy source and reduces carbon emissions by offsetting the need for energy from fossil fuel sources and reducing methane generation from landfills.


A new landfill in Baltimore City.

Quarantine Road landfill will reach full capacity by 2026. Without Wheelabrator Baltimore, this will be reduced significantly. Plans for an expansion at Quarantine Road will cost Baltimore taxpayers $86 million. However, recognizing that full capacity will be reached there before an expansion is completed, they are evaluating alternate locations for another landfill in the city.

Waste-to-energy reduces out reliance on fossil fuels.

Wheelabrator Baltimore reduces out reliance on fossil fuels by offsetting the need for up to:

  • 795,067 barrels of oil annually.
  • 238,479 tons of coal annually.
  • 3.6M cubic ft. of natural gas annually.

Without Wheelabrator Baltimore, we must 1) add approximately 37,000 new tractor-trailer trips to our streets to move waste out of the city or 2) landfill the waste locally. Replacing waste-to-energy with landfilling would generate an additional 204,692 tons of greenhouse gases each year in Baltimore.

Green Steam.

Green Steam is a clean alternative to fossil fuels like natural gas and fuel oil.

Wheelabrator Baltimore generates “green steam” for downtown Baltimore’s heating and cooling system operated by Veolia North America.

This “green steam” powers commercial, healthcare, government, institutional and hospitality customers in Baltimore City, including M&T Bank Stadium.

The green steam used by downtown Baltimore businesses reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 47,000 tons each year, which is equivalent to removing 8,400 cars from the road.

What the experts say.

“As a society we can achieve the cleaner air, water, and soil that we all want. Working toward a more circular economy is in everyone’s best interest. But it is only through a pragmatic approach rooted in scientific and engineering realities that we will achieve success. Some organizations are actually rooted, however, in ideology, and this rigidity only serves, ironically, to hinder our progress toward a cleaner environment.


“There is an alternative waste management option that America has not significantly utilized but that could help stem the flow of waste, and thus pollution emissions, in our country: energy-from-waste facilities. According to the EPA, for every ton of garbage processed at an energy-from-waste facility, approximately one ton of emitted carbon-dioxide equivalent in the atmosphere is prevented.”

-Center for American Progress