Is There a Role of Waste to Energy in the Circular Economy? Americans create a lot of solid waste – to the tune of 268 million tons in 2017 alone. While many localities and companies are championing zero-waste plans to divert materials that have a second life (think recycling, reusing and composting), the majority of U.S. garbage still ends up in the landfill. What's the best use of that garbage? This discussion explores the polarizing world of waste-to-energy through incineration and gasification.