By Karin Adams, Sarah McVeigh

The Greens have welcomed Brisbane City Council’s plan to turn rubbish into power, but say the council is years behind the rest of the world.

The landfill site at Willawong in the south of Brisbane will have its methane and carbon dioxide emissions turned into electricity and put into the grid.

Methane gas is 21 times more environmentally damaging than carbon dioxide.

Landfill Gas Industries managing director Adam Bloomer, the company building the plant, said this will tackle a huge problem for council.

“Every council in Australia that owns a landfill,” she said. “Their landfill is their single biggest source of their carbon emissions.”

“Generally they’re somewhere in the range of 60 to 70 per cent of their greenhouse gas emission.”

Queensland Greens spokesperson Libby Connors said Brisbane and Australia are behind the rest of the world.

“Queensland and Brisbane in particular are a long way behind the (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) where at least 20 OECD countries are already using this sort of technology,” she said.

She said she has been calling for the Willawong landfill gas plan for 20 years.

“Australia has been really smug for many years that the easiest solution for our waste disposal is landfill because we’ve supposedly got all this space,” she said.

“You know that is just completely been the wrong attitude.”

Waste Management Association of Australia Queensland president Pravin Menon said Brisbane City Council is pushing forward with good sustainability policy.

“What Brisbane City Council is doing is extremely responsible from an environmental perspective in actually utilising a resource in the ground that would otherwise add to our environmental impact,” he said.

He said future waste management strategies need to avoid, reuse and divert waste.

“Councils should firstly look at reducing the amount of waste that they send to landfill,” he said.

Ms Connors said Queensland is missing landfill gas plant opportunities.

“It’s interesting the only two plants are here in Brisbane but there are plenty of other opportunities to develop this around the state,” she said.

Mr Bloomer said the benefits of the plant are environmental but won’t stem the rising electricity prices.

“I don’t think it’s going to make a big difference to electricity prices,” he said.

“Renewable energy is still a premium product as far as cost is concerned.”

But he said what it will do is provide power to around 1,400 homes annually.

The plant will be operational by June 2012.