Food waste should be banned from being sent to landfill and instead used to produce electricity and renewable heat, a thinktank has said.
There should be a steady supply of organic waste to anaerobic digestion, a renewable power source, CentreForum said.
Councils should be given financial support to help them bring in separate food waste collections for business and households to help improve the flow of waste.
The process could create enough biogas from green waste and purpose-grown crops to power more than 2.5 million homes in the UK by 2020, the report said.
However, a number of barriers to increasing energy from anaerobic digestion need to be removed if the technology is to be scaled up significantly from current levels, where it produces enough energy to power 300,000 homes, the thinktank warned.
Anaerobic digestion plants use micro-organisms to break down organic material without oxygen to create biogas.
With the EU Renewable Energy Directive deadline looming – the UK is committed to ensuring 20 per cent of its energy comes from renewable sources by 2020 – it must "revolutionise" the way it produces energy and reduces waste, CentreForum said.
Its report, Hit the Gas, praises anaerobic digestion for generating a multi-purpose biogas that is easy to transport and store.
Report co-author Quentin Maxwell-Jackson said: "Anaerobic digestion technology has so many clear advantages over other waste treatment and energy generation options that it is very surprising it has not taken off in a big way yet in the UK.
"But that is because trying to get an anaerobic digestion scheme up and running at the moment is like trying to win a cycle race with the brakes on."
CentreForum said anaerobic digestion schemes struggle to secure contracts for the supply of food because of disparities in food waste collections.
Just 13 per cent of homes in England have separate food waste collections, compared to 82 per cent of those in Wales.
Ed Davey, the secretary of state for energy and climate change, said: "The government is committed to promoting an increase in energy from waste schemes through anaerobic digestion. CentreForum's report offers some interesting ideas for how this increase can be achieved."