A Maryland company has developed a way to turn discarded paper and cardboard from offices into fuel for vehicles.

Fiberighttakes office waste and pulps, treats and washes it. Next, it uses enzymes from Danish companyNovozymesto convert the cellulosic material into sugars that are fermented into ethanol. That, in turn, is used to make E85-a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline-for fueling vehicles.

At ademonstrationlast month in Washington, DC, E85 from government waste paper was used to fuel a Chevrolet HHR and a Ford F150 for drives throughout the capital.

By using nonrecycled trash as the input, Fiberight avoids the “food vs. fuel” debate associated with other renewable fuel producers, which use corn as feedstock.

Americans generate enough paper waste to produce 8 billion gallons of “trashanol” annually, according to Craig Stuart-Paul, Fiberight’s CEO. A typical family of four produces enough waste each year to make fuel to drive 8,000 miles. Fiberight’s pilot plant in Blairstown, IA, could produce as much as 10 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year.

We may run out of oil someday, but we’ll always have ready supply of government waste.