Methane gas emitted from Canberra's landfill will soon provide power to almost 6000 homes across the ACT.
Four new landfill gas generators have opened near the Mugga Lane Resource Management Centre, which will aim to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions produced from landfill.
The generators will capture up to 70 per cent of methane from the Mugga Lane landfill and will power the generator that runs a turbine to create electricity for 5700 Canberra homes.
The new generators will replace the existing facility that was built in the late 1990s, and is expected to be 15 per cent more efficient in capturing the gas.
The new facilities will be run by Landfill Gas Industries, who signed a 15-year contract to manage the generators with the ACT government.
Methane is produced from mostly organic waste collected in landfill such as food scraps and chemicals seen in spray bottles
ACT Waste Reduction Minister Chris Steel said methane was 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide and reducing the amount emitted was critical to reducing greenhouse gases.
"The four megawatt facility will help to reduce emissions by 120,000 tonnes a year and will reduce the impact on the environment," Mr Steel said.
"As the landfill expands and different layers are added, we're making sure we're capping landfill appropriately and adding at each stage the drilling and pipes so we can extract as much of the gas as possible."
While food scraps make up the bulk of organic waste that eventually becomes methane gas in a landfill environment, other items such as cotton shirts and cardboard also emit the gas as it breaks down.
It's estimated more than one-third of what Canberrans throw away in their rubbish bins are made up of organic materials.
More than 140,000 tonnes of organic waste goes into landfill in the ACT each year.
"Organic materials break down in an anaerobic environment, and as landfill gets added on, these things start to break down over a number of years," Mr Steel said.
"What we're trying to capture is the methane that would otherwise go into the atmosphere."
ACT NoWaste executive branch manager Anthony Haraldson said the new generators would be more efficient than the previous operation.
"The new system has a lot less downtime so we can extract the gas for longer throughout the year," he said.
"At the moment, it's a four megawatt power system, so each generator can manage 1.06 megawatts."
While food scraps lead to emitting methane gas in landfill, they are not able to be thrown away in the green bin for organic materials.
ACT Labor has pledged that food scraps will be allowed to be placed in the green bin to avoid landfill once an industrial composting facility has been built to deal with the food waste.
Green bins have been rolled out to 50 per cent of Canberra homes with all homes to receive one by 2023.