Conversion of Urban Waste to Energy:

Developing and Introducing Alternative Fuels From Municipal Solid Waste

EMD-79-7: Published: Feb 28, 1979. Publicly Released: Feb 28, 1979.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

One of the least recognized alternative sources of energy, municipal solid waste, is a promising, virtually inexhaustible domestic energy source. Technologies to convert this waste to energy are available, and the recovery of energy through the combustion on municipal solid waste is a well-established technique for conserving energy in Western Europe.

Federal efforts to convert waste to energy are fragmented, uncoordinated, misguided, uncertain in priorities, and lacking in overall strategy.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in consultation with the Secretaries of Energy and Commerce and in coordination with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, and other interested parties, should develop and submit to Congress a detailed 10-year plan decribing a specific strategy for the Federal Urban Waste-to-Energy Program. This plan should be updated and submitted annually. It should: (1) define the specific roles and responsibilities of the Department of Energy, EPA, Commerce, and any other Federal agencies involved in this effort; (2) specify goals and objectives with appropriate emphasis on commercialization and research, development, and demonstration activities; (3) provide for the expeditious finalization of all relevant interagency agreements consistent with the plan; (4) establish time frames and resource requirements for accomplishing the plan's purpose; (5) provide for incentives which best foster the use of municipal solid waste energy systems and their products; (6) provide for an improved information and education program to furnish States and local governments with needed information; and (7) include milestones for measuring progress in meeting the plan's goals and objectives.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Mar 14, 2018

Feb 28, 2018

Feb 16, 2018

Feb 6, 2018

Jan 30, 2018

Dec 7, 2017

Nov 14, 2017

Nov 1, 2017

Oct 26, 2017

Sep 8, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here