Reducing Food Waste

Food waste is the single biggest contributor to solid waste in municipal landfills and is a major cost for American and Canadian families. Various studies have estimated that food waste costs families around $600 a year. But the costs are more than financial. Food waste can increase trash volume, increase trash odor and attract rodents and other pests. disposed of in their landfills and reduce the amount of trash put out on city streets. Most of what is wasted ends up in municipal landfills, where it is the largest single contributor to solid waste. It also creates an environmental hazard. As it breaks down, it releases the methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, food waste makes up 22 percent of discarded waste that is sent to landfills . Food waste disposers can help reduce the volume of food waste being sent to landfills. Food waste that is put through food waste disposers is sent to wastewater treatment plants, not landfills. At the plants, the methane the waste produces can be captured. Many wastewater treatment plants use the captured methane to help power their facilities. Food waste disposers may also significantly reduce overall trash volumes, resulting in less trash being kept in homes prior to pickup and fewer bags being put out for pickup on narrow and crowded city streets.

Several U.S. cities have conducted studies in which they worked with AHAM member InSinkErator to install food waste disposers in neighborhood homes to assess the impact on waste management. Residents who of two Philadelphia neighborhoods who participated in the project reported that the average volume of trash they put out each week dropped by 35 percent. Participants in Boston, Milwaukee and Tacoma, Wash. also reported lower trash volume. Lower trash volume can have a significant impact on quality of life in cities, as it can result in fewer bags being put out for pickup on narrow city streets, and reduce problems with rodents and trash odors.