Halifax-based Sustane Technologies Inc., a clean-tech company, is turning household trash into biomass energy in a program designed to divert the bulk of landfill waste into cleaner options for the future.

Sustane has located its Nova Scotia warehouse near the Chester landfill on the south shore where it transforms waste into biomass pellets and diesel fuel, and then recycles much of what is left over.

They have signed an agreement with Chester to use its garbage supply. The Chester plant, the only one in Nova Scotia, is running at about 70 per cent capacity. The company says its facilities can process 70,000 tonnes of garbage a year, which would lead to an annual reduction in greenhouse gases equivalent to removing 40,000 cars from the roads.

Sustane says it can divert 90 per cent of waste from landfills and eliminate their environmental liability. The process involves shredding bags of household waste and then putting the waste through stages of separation and cleaning including using magnets to remove metals for recycling. There is no burning, which hugely reduces environmental impact.

“This is a process that has no combustion,” CEO Peter Vinall tells CBC News. “When you burn plastic, you get reactions that create pollutants that are bad. We make clean products with very limited impact on the environment and a tremendous benefit.”

The biomass is turned into pellets that are sold as an industrial heat source.

Some estimates put the amount of garbage produced by Canadians at 30 million tonnes a year, much of which ends up in landfills.The company is planning similar projects in other parts of Canada and the world.