This Place Is a Dump…We’ll Take It!


Could converting the huge amounts of garbage sitting in landfills around the world into biofuel be the answer to the growing energy crisis and a means of wrangling out-of-control carbon emissions?

Scientists in Singapore and Switzerland think so. Their research, published in Global Change Biology: Bioenergy, shows that by converting processed waste such as paper and cardboard into what is known as cellulosic ethanol, a second-generation biofuel, it would be easy to cut global carbon emissions by 80%.

Using data from the United Nation’s Human Development Index, the scientists estimated that 82.93 billion litres of cellulosic ethanol could be produced from the existing worldwide landfill. There’s certainly no shortage of urban waste to work with, unlike biofuel from crops which requires an increase in crop production which in turn has its own ecological costs.

Buy a dump, help the planet, turn a profit? Stranger things have happened.

Image: D’Arcy Norman