Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - The Olmsted County Waste-to-Energy Facility in Rochester passed a significant milestone on Monday when it processed its 2-millionth ton of garbage.

County officials note that means 2 million tons of trash did not end up in a landfill, and instead was incinerated to generate electricity. Without the system, which began operating in 1987, it’s estimated Olmsted County’s currently permitted landfill would have reached capacity in 1997.

It’s predicted the current landfill has enough capacity to last another 50 years using the waste to energy system to deal with the majority of the community’s waste. Without the burner, officials say local waste stream would have required 2 ½ additional landfills the size of the current one.

The energy produced by the plant since its opening is equivalent to 6.5 billion kilowatt hours which was delivered to 38 buildings in the form of steam and electricity.