The public

What is AD?

AD – anaerobic digestion – is a naturally occurring process which can be harnessed to make electricity, heat, gas, fuel and fertiliser. Here’s how it works:

What AD can do for you

AD’s potential is huge, both for the environment, and for your wallet. It’s an environmentally friendly solution to energy and waste issues, and could potentially provide 10% of the entire UK’s domestic gas demand - because, like many of the things we throw away, our food waste (even the peelings) is actually a useful resource, and not rubbish at all. But it’s not just about producing energy: by recycling the nutrients in your food waste into biofertilisers, the AD process helps farmers produce food more cost-effectively, which reduces your food bill. So how exactly does that potential reach you?

A reduction in food bills and wasted food

The average household throws away £52 of food every month. That’s over £600 a year, just tossed in the bin, whether from over-buying at the supermarket or throwing away food that’s still edible. By putting your food waste in a caddy it’s easier to judge how much food goes to waste each week, which means you’ll buy less, waste less, and save more.

A reduction in energy prices

AD can produce an affordable, reliable, renewable gas, perfect for home energy use across the country, which would reduce our reliance on volatile fossil fuel supplies and the price spikes they bring. Our food waste alone is capable of creating enough energy to power over 2,000,000 homes – over THIRTY TIMES more than solar photovoltaic (PV) currently manages.

Better use of your council tax

It’s a shame that your council tax has to be wasted on rubbish. Wouldn’t it be better to spend it on good things, like hospitals, schools, roads and parks? For example, Bexley Council in east London saved £1,000,000 – simply by switching to segregated waste collection, the first step in collecting waste for AD processing.

Less waste to landfill

In a small world with a growing population, it seems odd that we just throw most of our rubbish in the ground, doesn’t it? With all the possibilities for that waste, we bury it, where the organic fraction produces methane – one of the most harmful of all greenhouse gases. Instead of throwing our waste into landfill, we need to be making the most of these resources, reusing and recycling as much as possible. For the organic fraction – which includes our food and garden waste – we should be using them to generate energy or putting the nutrients they contain back into the land in the form of biofertiliser. And AD does both.

More jobs

One other thing – all of this will need manpower. Construction, transport, waste collection, manufacturing and engineering workers: that’s an estimated 35,000 jobs in the UK.

How can we benefit from AD?

That’s easy.

If you can’t compost your waste food and peelings (or feed them to a lucky pet), putting them into an AD caddy means that food and garden waste can be collected easily by your council, before being processed in an AD plant. That’s it: putting your food in an AD caddy, rather than in the bin or with other potentially recyclable products, is all you need to do. And in return, you might find that it’s easier to see what you’re wasting, and how to buy less when shopping next – so reducing your food bill. For more information on the benefits of reducing food waste, and suggestions for how to reduce it, visit

And if you don’t live in an area with separate food or garden waste collections, here’s what you can do.


To enjoy all the benefits of AD, the first step is making sure all our rubbish is segregated, before it’s processed in an AD facility. Here’s what you can do to ensure that happens:

If your council doesn’t collect waste food separately you can write to them, asking for a waste food collection, and supporting local AD projects. Here’s a template letter, and you can find your councillors here.

Try your MP, too. If we all write to them, they’ll understand how important it really is. You can find your MP’s details here.

If you’re interested in setting up an AD plant in your community, you can find out much more here.

You can hear from us again, with all the latest news and information on AD here.

Finally, you can spread the word: talk to people about AD and everything it offers. And if you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you here.

Our Practical Guide to AD provides you with an easy to use introductory reference tool to take you through each stage of an AD project. The Guide is available for non-members to purchase. ADBA members can download the first edition free of charge in the members’ area.

Is there anything about AD puzzling you?

If so, we have compiled a handy list of frequently asked questions that can found here

AD Beginners' Guide for the Public

To view the AD Beginners’ Guide for the Public please click here