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[GreenYes] Re: Growing Global Interest in Food Waste Disposers


I believe that sewage treatment plants in the San Francisco Bay Area would not be enthusiastic about the WSJ's glib endorsement of garbage disposals to reduce solid waste.  I have read several articles in the local press about how these plants are so maxed out that they are sometimes forced to dump untreated sewage into streams that drain to the Bay.  In late January one major sewage release in Marin County amounting to millions of gallons was one of the lead stories on the evening news for a couple of weeks.  Following that spill, lots of dead shorebirds were found in the area, although no conclusive link was established.  Also, sewage treatment facilitiy operators are advising customers via mailings never to put grease into the sewage system at all, since it creates pipe blockages not to mention lots of Biological Oxygen Demand. 

The best option is to compost food in your own backyard along with all the yard trimmings, food paper, and other organics such as cotton clothing.  I've done it for decades, and it's very satisfying, especially when combined with growing food in the enriched soil you get when you actually use the finished compost.  My soil horizon in the food garden is now about eight inches deep after fifteen years of soil amending with dozens of cubic yards of humus.  I'm also taking carbon that used to be in the air and putting it into the soil, where it nourishes the soil critters and fungi that help plants grow.  The soil is much easier to work than the heavy clay that I had to start with; no clods at all, and it holds water like a sponge.

Next best is to use curbside food and yard debris collection; these centralized processing systems are proliferating all over the Bay Area right now. 

Dan Knapp
Urban Ore, Inc., a reuse and recycling business in Berkeley, CA for 27 years.


On Feb 28, 2008, at 11:54 AM, Kendall Christiansen wrote:

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal featured a report about the growing international interest ? with a focus on the EU ? in the efficacy of food waste disposers (aka garbage disposals) as an environmental management tool, for immediate diversion of food scraps from the solid waste stream, and relying on wastewater treatment plants to process the solids in fertilizer products with energy recovery where possible.  In particular, it noted the experience of several cities that have intentionally opted for disposer-based systems for food scrap management.

 

Given that the WSJ remains subscription-based, if you?d like a copy of the article ? as well as its Environmental Capital blog post on the same topic ? please let me know and I?ll forward.  If you would like access to one or more of the reports referenced in the article, let me know that, too.

 

Kendall Christiansen

Gaia Strategies

151 Maple Street

Brooklyn, NY 11225

o: 718.941.9535; cell: 917.359.0725

the writer is senior consultant on environmental affairs for InSinkErator, the leading manufacturer of residential and commercial food waste disposers, and former Chair of NYC?s Citywide Recycling Advisory Board

 








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