If you have wondered whether it is more responsible and environmentally friendly to use a garbage disposal, rather than sending your food waste to the landfill, you may be surprised to know that the environmental benefits of using your disposal greatly outweigh any of its disadvantages. The following will help you to understand the benefits of using a sink disposal system rather than using your garbage can to dispose of your leftover food.
Benefit #1 – More Sanitary Home Conditions
By grinding food items in your disposal, you will incur less garbage in your home, which results in fewer garbage bags and fewer trips to your garbage can. There is also less chance of decomposing food attracting pests, animals and insects. In addition, those who use plastic garbage bags which are not biodegradable will use fewer of these bags. Finally, leftover food that is ground up and flushed into your sewage system will leave more sanitary conditions in your home than the same food that is left standing in a garbage can inside you home, producing bacteria.
Benefit #2 – Food Waste in Landfills Generates Emissions
Food scraps generated in the United States in 2007 was estimated to be about 31.7 million tons, and 12.5% of all solid waste sent to landfills is food scraps. Food scraps decomposing produce methane gases that are 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide gases, and trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere.
Benefit #3 – Emissions from Garbage Incineration
Food waste sent to your landfill is incinerated at the landfill, a process that also produces emissions.
Benefit #4 – Transportation Costs for Disposing of Solid Wastes
Considering the amount of solid waste and scraps of food sent to landfills, lowering the amount of that waste would also save energy costs for cities and counties, because there would be fewer refuse vehicles needed – thus lowering overall energy consumption and emissions from unburned fossil fuels.
Benefit #5 – Energy Production from Food Waste
The idea of food waste in our water supply sounds unpleasant, but in reality, food ground up in your disposal and sent to your local municipal water treatment plant is used, in most cases, to create energy. The methane gas created during the water/waste process can be captured and used to generate electrical energy or power.
Benefit #6 – The Biosolids used as Fertilizers
The biosolids, or treated sludge, that is the biproduct of treated food solids at a treatment plant, can be developed into fertilizer. The fertilizer can then, in turn, be sold. From these sales, income is then generated. The result; lower processing costs for the consumer who pays for this processing through payment of local taxes. The fertilizer produced from biosolids is a more environmentally friendly product than the energy-intensive fertilizers produced in other manufacturing processes.
Benefit #7 – Water and Electricity Usage
If you are concerned about the amount of water and electricity you consume when using your garbage disposal, consider this: in reality, only about 1% of your total household water consumption is from use of your garbage disposal unit. Also, your electrical expenditures from using your disposal will total a little less than 50 cents.