Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain EPA NARA

Approximately, 249.9 million tons of solid waste a year is produced in the United States. Left over sandwiches, banana peels, and other spoiled foods are items that add debris to landfills. The items dumped in landfills release harmful gases and chemicals into the air and once upon a time it was the only way society could get rid of a constant stream of waste. SEab Energy, a startup company in the UK, has created a way to utilize the waste that is filling up landfills to create biogas, fertilizer and animal bedding.

The MuckBuster, an anaerobic digester, converts waste into biogas that can be used for energy and the system fits into a 40-foot shipping container. Organic waste, animal manure or septic waste is placed into the digester and then bacteria consume it which releases a cocktail of digestive gases. Waste is then converted into biogas that can be used to create electricity or to heat water. The left over waste from the conversion can be used as dry mulch for animal bedding or as organic fertilizer.

CEO Sandra Sassow came up with the idea for the MuckBuster while taking care of her horses because of the amount of manure that the animals are notorious for producing. Providing information about the product at Cleantech Forums in San Diego, she noted that a typical U.S. high school cafeteria generates about a half a ton of waste a day. Enough waste that converted would provide electricity to run 150 to 160 computers.

SEaB’s MuckBuster comes in two sizes. The small version can produce 126 kilowatts of electricity per ton of waste. The larger version called the MB400 generates one household unit of electricity per one cubic meter of waste. The amount of energy produced from garbage through the MuckBuster makes it golden.