Originally published on the WRI website. It’s no secret that the world’s need for energy is increasing—but what many don’t realize is that a promising potential energy source is being flushed down our toilets every day. Increasingly, this wastewater—as well as other organic waste from sources like gardens and kitchens—is being used to heat homes, provide electricity, and even power cars.

This year’s World Water Day focuses on the problems and possibilities posed by wastewater. Wastewater is water contaminated with human, agricultural, or industrial wastes. While typically seen as a nuisance, the organic matter contained in wastewater from our sewage systems (commonly known as “sludge”) can become a valuable resource with sludge-to-energy systems.

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