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Biodegradable waste

Biodegradable waste is a type of waste, typically originating from plant or animal sources, which may be broken down by other living organisms. Waste that cannot be broken down by other living organisms may be called non-biodegradable.

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, Slaughterhouse waste.


Through proper waste management, it can be converted into valuable products by composting, or energy by waste-to-energy processes such as anaerobic digestion and incineration. Anaerobic digestion is the process in which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. [1] As part of an integrated waste management system, anaerobic digestion reduces the emission of landfill gas into the atmosphere.

Composting converts biodegradable waste into compost. Anaerobic digestion converts biodegradable waste into several products, including biogas and soil amendment (digestate). Incineration as well as biogas can be used to generate electricity and/or heat for district heating.

Biodegradable waste and global warming

Biodegradable waste is an important substance due to its links with global warming. When it is disposed of in landfills, it breaks down under uncontrolled anaerobic conditions. This produces landfill gas which, if not harnessed, escapes into the atmosphere. Landfill gas contains methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The European Union Landfill Directive puts key requirements on member states for the management of biodegradable waste in order to stop global warming.

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Biodegradable_waste". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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