One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Or in reality, our waste from consuming can be repurposed and turned into useful resources.
If anyone knows that there’s value in trash, it’s Waste Management — the big waste hauler collects 66 million tons of it every year. So the company has teamed up with a small venture-backed company that has developed a system that can break down some of that trash fast and turn it into natural gas, electricity, compost or all of the above, making some of that trash even more valuable.
Waste Management announced today it has invested in Harvest Power and will develop projects with the company. Harvest builds giant digesters — think of them as cow stomachs — that speed up the composting process. By creating conditions that the bugs that break down organic matter thrive in — a little warmth, a little moisture — and mixing it up to keep the process going, Havest can speed the natural composting process to six to eight weeks from double that. The output? No hamburgers, milk or leather, but otherwise the same as what you’d get from a cow: natural gas and good fertilizer.