Rotting food waste or sewage can be turned into a methane-rich fuel, known as biogas, by the process of anaerobic digestion.
It should be providing clean, green fuel and power all across the UK.
The National Grid estimates that biogas could supply one fifth of total UK gas demand and 16 per cent of our transport energy – three times more than is needed to run the entire public transport system.
But, according to an Ecologist investigation, a perverse web of subsides, rules and contracts mean local authorities are about to miss out completely.
Many local authorities are planning to tie themselves into long-term contracts for large 'ineffecient' incinerators and ignoring biogas.
'The entire PFI procurement process favours incineration,' writes the Ecologist investigation author David Strahan.
'The technological conservatism and financial interests of all the players – waste companies, legal and technical advisors, banks, Defra – pushes councils towards big energy-from-waste plants.'
You can find out if your council is about to waste your waste by using our interactive map below. If you hover over a county it will reveal the the local authority's waste plans.
Read more about the scandal in our investigation (subscribers only)
'Biogas: is your council about to waste your waste'
Move your mouse over a county in the map below to reveal the local authority's waste plans