Biodegradable waste is a type of waste which can be broken down, in a reasonable amount of time, into its base compounds by micro-organisms and other living things, regardless of what those compounds may be.
Biodegradable waste can be commonly found in municipal solid waste (sometimes called biodegradable municipal waste, or BMW) as green waste, food waste, paper waste, and biodegradable plastics. Other biodegradable wastes include human waste, manure, sewage, and slaughterhouse waste. In the absence of oxygen, much of this waste will decay to methane by anaerobic digestion.
Climate change impacts
The main environmental threat from biodegradable waste is the production of methane in landfills. Methane is 21 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide and accounted for some 3% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the EU-15 in 1995. The Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC obliges member states to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste that they landfill to 35% of 1995 levels by 2016, which will significantly reduce the problem.
Uses of biodegradable waste
Biodegradable waste can often be used for composting or may well be a resource for heat, electricity and fuel in future as it is being achieved by the Swiss Kompogas treatment for 20 years now. This produces additional biogas and still delivers the compost for the soil. It is a fully developed system and produced 27 million Kwh of electricity and biogas in 2009. The oldest of the companies own lorries has achieved 1.000.000 kilometes driven with biogas from household waste in the last 15 years.[dead link]
- CSL London Olympics Waste Review
- EC page on biodegradable waste
- National Non-Food Crops Centre. NNFCC report on Evaluation of Opportunities for Converting Indigenous UK Wastes to Fuels and Energy
- Recycling chain
- Lorry has driven 25 times around the earth using gas from Biodegradable waste
- Biodegradability prediction
- Biodegradable bags
- Brown waste
- Green waste
- Landfill diversion
- List of waste types
- Sewage treatment