Biodegradable waste is a type of waste which can be broken down, in a reasonable amount of time, into its base compounds by micro-organisms and other living things, regardless of what those compounds may be.
The main environmental threat from biodegradable waste is the production of methane in landfills. Methane is 21 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide (CO2) and accounted for some 3% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the EU-15 in 1995. The Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC obliges Member States to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste that they landfill to 35% of 1995 levels by 2016, which will significantly reduce the problem.
Biodegradable waste can often be used for composting or must doubtless be a resource for heat, electricity and fuel in future as it is being achieved by the Swiss Kompogas treatment for 20 years now. This produces additional Biogas and still delivers the compost for the soil. It is a fully developed system and produced 27 million Kwh of electricity and Biogas in 2009. The oldest of the companies own lorries has achieved 1.000.000 kilometes driven with biogas from household waste in the last 15 years.[dead link]