Energy from waste

Every year, around 300,000 tonnes of waste is sent to landfill in the ACT from businesses, households, government and other organisations. 

Reducing the amount of waste we generate is the first step in minimising the impact of waste on our environment. We also have an opportunity to generate renewable energy from wastes that cannot be recycled. Various technologies are available for this:

  • anaerobic digestion of organic wastes generates electricity and produces a digestate that can be used as a fertiliser
  • thermal processing technologies, such as pyrolysis, use heat to extract energy from mixed wastes.

Energy from waste could help to achieve the Government’s waste targets of more than 90% resource recovery by 2025 and a carbon neutral waste sector by 2020.

Today, the only energy generated from waste in the ACT is electricity generated from the gas captured at two closed landfill cells (generating around 25 KWh/year). Opportunities for generating additional energy from waste are being investigated as part of the ACT Waste Feasibility Study, which will be completed by mid-2017. The whole-of-government is looking at ways to:

  • reduce the amount of waste we generate
  • maximise recycling and reuse
  • minimise the amount we send to landfill.

Complementary activities under the ACT’s Waste Management Strategy

To helps us to improve waste management and get to a carbon-neutral Canberra, the Government has created the ACT Waste Management Strategy 2011–2025. It has four key objectives:

  1. less waste generated
  2. full resource recovery
  3. a clean environment
  4. a carbon-neutral waste sector.

The Government also encourages reduced waste and increased onsite sorting by households, businesses and schools through education such as the A-Z Waste and Recycling Guide, the Actsmart Business Recycling program and the Actsmart Schools program.  In doing so, the Government aims to minimise the amount of waste generated, maximise recycling and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill.