Home » Can Renewable Energy Be Obtained From Rubbish: An In-depth Look

Can Renewable Energy Be Obtained From Rubbish: An In-depth Look

According to the country’s latest waste account report, Australia generated about 67 million tonnes of waste in 2016-2017 and it’s escalating. The pressing issue has put pressure on the country’s lead agencies in managing our waste. To resolve the increasing waste issue, the country sent a million tonne of rubbish to China and spent $17 billion on waste services.

The rapid increase of urban population and limited availability of land to discard our rubbish played a crucial role in our escalating waste problem. However, with the changes in imported waste regulations and cities curbside recycling program, it presented an opportunity to review how we deal with our waste.

Currently, various waste management alternatives help us manage our rubbish disposal. However, the problem still exists and continues to warm the earth. With today’s emergence of technologies, it will significantly contribute to our current methods of waste management.  

Related: Fact Check: Is Energy From Waste Hygienic?

Is Rubbish A Source of Renewable Energy?

When it comes to renewable energy, waste doesn’t usually come up as an important topic. With the pressure of climate change and piling up of waste in our landfills, we need to consider new waste management to resolve our current rubbish problem.

Our rubbish or municipal solid waste (MSW) can be a source of energy. First, it must undergo a process by burning it in special power plants. The process includes capturing the gases it releases which will then be used as energy.

When the rubbish is burned at special waste power plants, it produces steam that can be used either to heat buildings or to generate electricity. Here’s a renewable energy that can be obtained from organic materials known as biomass.

Bioenergy: Biomass

Bioenergy is a renewable energy that uses organic materials to produce heat, biogas, electricity and liquid fuels. It comes in diverse resources such as wood waste, by-products of paper manufacturing (black liquor), energy crops, commercial crop residues such as sugarcane. These organic materials are called biomass.

How is Biomass Produced?

Biomass can be converted to bioenergy using a range of technologies. Also, it will depend on the type of material, scale or size of the project and form of energy to be produced. 

Usually, biomass is placed in a furnace to be burned. Then, the heat from the fire will be used to boil the water where it produces steam. The steam will then spin the turbines to generate electricity.

Conversion technologies include combustion, pyrolysis, gasification, transesterification, anaerobic digestion and fermentation, or maybe linked to processes such as biorefining.

Listed below are various methods on how to generate energy from waste. Check out the following methods and see how they work.


Combustion is the recovery of non-recyclable waste and converting it into valuable energy to generate electricity. Although the process has an efficiency rate of around 15 to 27%, it is potentially sustainable in resolving our plastics, paper and textile waste. But, combustion produces flue gas which is considered an air pollutant.


Gasification is a process of converting carbon-based materials such as MSW or municipal solid waste or biomass into energy even without burning the waste material. Instead, it turns the liquid and solid waste materials into a gas through a chemical reaction.

This means, that the rubbish such as grass clippings, product packaging, furniture, etc is mixed with oxygen or steam to produce valuable energy called synthesised gas. Synthesised gas or ‘syngas’ is useful for transport fuels, fertilisers or electricity.

However, with its potential, it is not without a flip side as gasification is followed by combustion. Also, gasification requires various processes and requires a lot of energy especially when it comes to cleaning.


Pyrolysis is different from the methods mentioned above as it involves the decomposition of various solid wastes. Although pyrolysis is followed by combustion, the process requires lower temperatures which means lower emissions of air pollutants.

This method along with gasification is not renewable because it releases a harmful CO2 gas extracted from synthetic textiles, plastics and other biological materials.

Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic digestion is used in treating millions of tonnes of food waste. If anaerobic digestion can treat tonnes of food waste, it can also be used to generate energy from organic waste.

Anaerobic digestion is a process where bacteria will break down organic matter such as manure, food wastes, wastewater, etc. The process for biogas takes place in an oxygen-free tank or sealed vessel designed to accommodate organic waste materials.

Trusted Rubbish Removal Company in Sydney

As the amount of rubbish continues to pile up, Paul’s Rubbish Removal is here to help and provide you with fast same-day rubbish removal services in Sydney. 

We are a dedicated team of rubbish removalist servicing residential, commercial and industrial facilities in Sydney. 

Our team of expert rubbish removalists are equipped with the right skills and experience in handling even the most demanding rubbish removal. Call us today at 0407 125 125 and talk to our accommodating staff about what type of rubbish removal services you need. 

We offer fast and affordable rubbish removal services in Sydney. Our goal is to keep our community safe and clean 24/7. 

Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann is a Digital Content Writer for Paul's Rubbish Removal. Sarah is a huge advocate for recycling, environmental sustainability, health and well-being and has a genuine love for all sea animals. Keep up with Sarah by following Paul's Rubbish Removal blog!

Reading Time       3 minutes

Share this article


Related posts: