Making a net zero carbon economy

Food waste is one of the least recovered materials and is one of the most important materials to divert from landfills. Food that is disposed of in landfills decomposes to create methane, a gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Diverting even a portion of this waste to waste-to-energy systems could free up large amounts of landfill space as well as provide renewable energy for a variety of uses.

Making a net zero carbon economy

In Victoria, Australia, Sustainability Victoria’s 2020 vision (SV2020) is to create a sustainable and thriving Victoria that uses resources more sustainably and takes practical action on climate change. One key focus of SV2020 is leading the planning for an integrated waste and recovery system and supporting the responsible management of waste. This is in support of the Victorian Government’s aim of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Victoria leading the waste-to-energy transition

Victoria leading the waste-to-energy transition

The Waste to Energy Infrastructure Fund

To lead the way, Sustainability Victoria has launched its $2 million Waste to Energy Infrastructure Fund to support the installation of new, or upgrades to, waste to energy facilities to process organic waste across the state.

The Fund is open to all waste to energy technologies with a particular focus on the recovery and reprocessing of food waste from the commercial and industrial sector as this presents a significant opportunity for greenhouse gas abatement (the sector produces more than 300,000 tons of food waste, of which just 22% is recycled).

Funding is available to businesses that produce food waste and/or have a high energy demand, the waste management industry, local government and water authorities or others that have a waste to energy project that can be commissioned by the end of 2019. The funding available is made on condition that co-contributions are made with the ratios set at:

  • $1 Sustainability Victoria: $3 industry
  • $1 Sustainability Victoria: $2 for local government

The take-out

Diverting food waste is a low-hanging fruit to pick in the transition towards a net zero carbon economy.

*Robert C. Brears is the author of Urban Water Security (Wiley) and founder of Mitidaption, which consults on climate change risks to business, governance and society.

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Author: Robert C. Brears

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