7 Steps into the future: 4

© jjldickinson - Ecologico-Logic

Waste not

Plant debris, paper and everyday municipal solid waste can take years to break down in landfill, emitting methane. The Muncher, a newly developed aerobic organic waste compost system, shortens the process to less than an hour, reducing waste mass by 70 per cent while converting it into useful by-products and killing pathogens. The process uses naturally occurring aerobic microorganisms to digest waste, and results in nutrient-rich organic fertilizer, both solid and liquid. Run on electricity, the prototype processes 5 tonnes of waste daily; a full-scale model will have a 500-tonne daily capacity. Potential applications include increasing capacity on site at landfills and processing organic waste at restaurants and hotels. The Muncher also cleans up such toxins as PCBs, nitrogen wastes and crude oil, so may be used for environmental remediation.

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