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Biodegradable Materials – The Source of Renewable Energy

The digestion of biodegradable organic wastes, particularly at landfills produces a very strong leachate and greenhouse gases. This waste is not only a major threat to the environment but also represent a significant source of renewable energy. In waste treatment technique based on established natural eco-balance, composting and fermentation should be the main routes for the treatment of waste containing organic matter. The organic fraction of solid waste can be used for bio gas generation, aquaculture and/or composting. Using these technique, biodegradable materials can be treated at or near the source of generation. If this waste is not treated on-site, it can be treated at a central treatment unit. In the UK, the community composting network  (CCN) is actively involved in popularizing home composting of source-separated biodegradable material, using a home composting bin for kitchen wastes. It is apparent from warmer (2000a) that with more than 2000 households successfully composting in the town of  Newcastle, this scheme is one of the most successful local authority home composting projects in the UK and the sectors services are available to around 25000 households. The Swiss city of Zurich has several hundred community composting projects, particularly in high-rise urban wastes. Recent European legislation on landfill has provided a powerful inactive to divert  biodegradable materials from solid waste. In Italy, by the late 1998, some 600 municipalities were running wet-collection and dry-collection schemes for source- separated biodegradable materials.