Where there is waste there is energy

In a consumer society, most people do not view trash and human waste as a problem, except perhaps when they struggle to close the lid on their bin or their toilet is blocked. Typically, each UK household produces an average of over 1 metric ton of rubbish a year, which amounts to about 31 million metric tons for the UK as a whole, an amount which is reduced by a 44.6 percent recycling rate. Sweden performs marginally better achieving a recycling rate of 49.8 percent. According to Yale University research, Americans are the most wasteful, recycling just 21.4 percent of their trash. The resultant constant supply of decomposing rubbish makes landfills the third-largest human-created source of methane emissions in the United States…

Increasingly, dumping unwanted rubbish into a large hole in the ground or waste into a river, lake or the sea is becoming less acceptable. Governments in Europe have introduced Landfill taxes and fines for non-compliance with waste management legislation in an effort to reduce and manage rubbish and waste disposal. However, rubbish and waste can be turned into energy. Incinerating one metric ton of rubbish can provide power for 500 hot baths, 3,500 hot showers or 5,000 hours of television.

There are many different types of waste, whether from households, industry or agriculture, that can be converted into heat or power. Excluding all types of recycling, about 70 percent of rubbish collected is combustible.That includes paper, cardboard, biodegradable waste, textiles, plastics and more. Indeed and surprisingly, common household waste has a similar calorific value to that of oil shale. Burning landfill and sewage gas to provide fuel for power plants converts waste into cash. Anaerobic digestion of agricultural waste yields renewable energy, cuts farmer’s bills and creates a source of income. Alexander Marshall, Group Marketing & Compliance Director at Clarke Energy notes that, “in many countries feed-in tariffs or additional levels of support for the generation of electricity from renewable energy from waste plants is becoming commonplace.“

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