We could be heating our homes with the food we waste
Perhaps we could be forgiven for overlooking the potential of rotting rubbish. But lurking in our bins is a new source of energy that could one day be heating and powering hundreds of thousands of UK homes.
When we send waste to landfill it decays producing methane – a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. However, anaerobic digesters can compost the same rubbish in a carefully controlled, oxygen-free atmosphere to create a gas that can be burned to generate electricity and heat.
Most organic material can be processed this way, including household and industrial waste, sewage and animal waste.
The UK throws away 18-20 million tonnes of food and other biodegradable waste each year, according to Government figures. While it would be better to not chuck away food in the first place, if this amount was treated by AD it would generate electricity for nearly 600,000 homes.