London, Dec 26: Discarded Christmas cards and wrapping paper can fuel 20 moon trips by a double-decker bus and back — the staggering equivalent of 18 million km.
Imperial College of London scientists have shown how waste paper could be turned into high grade biofuel, with the help of micro-organisms, to power motor vehicles.
Some 1.5 billion cards and 83 sq km of wrapping paper are thrown away by British residents over Christmas.
This could provide five to 12 million litres of biofuel, enough to run a bus for for 18 million km. But they go into a landfill or are recycled in local schemes, according to an Imperial College statement.
‘If one card is assumed to weigh 20 grams and one square metre of wrapping paper is 10 grams, then around 38,300 tonnes of extra paper waste will be generated at Christmas time,’ said study author Richard Murphy from the department of Life Sciences at Imperial College.
‘Our research shows that it would be feasible to build waste paper-to-biofuel processing plants that give energy back as transport fuel.’
‘If this technology can be developed further, waste paper might ultimately provide a great, environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels,’ Murphy added.