FOOD scraps are helping fuel a green energy boom, according to Scottish Renewables.

New figures show 8,000 tonnes of food waste is being collected from households and converted into energy using anaerobic digesting (AD) plants.

Sixteen plants operate in Scotland and a further 24 have planning approval.

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Scottish Renewables said the AD industry was set to double in size in the next two years, fuelled by a rise in local authority food waste collections and the compulsory measures for businesses to separate their food waste, which came into effect in January.

At AD plants, recycled food stuffs like vegetable peel or farm slurry are left to rot in a concealed chamber.

This creates energy for power and heating.

Stephanie Clark, policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: "Food waste is being diverted from landfills where it would have rotted and produced polluting methane gas.

"Instead, the waste is broken down by micro-organisms and converted into energy, providing electricity and heat to homes and businesses and reducing carbon emissions."

If all 32 Scottish councils introduced a weekly waste collection scheme, 72,000 tonnes of food could be recycled every year, the body said.

Scottish Water has invested in two AD plants and a waste collection scheme. The facility in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire, can generate up to 8,000 megawatts of electricity each year, enough to power 2,000 homes.