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Busting Food Waste Disposer Myths

Disposer Package, Sink/Trough Mount, 1 HP, Choose VoltageFood waste disposers may not seem like something that should be high on your priority list to worry about, however disposers can be extremely helpful for the environment. Food waste disposers also seem to carry a great deal of misconceptions that might hinder you from purchasing one of these handy pieces of equipment. This article is going to take some of the most common myths and misconceptions about food waste disposers and tell you the truth about each of these.

MYTH 1: Disposing of Food Waste in Landfills is an Acceptable Solution

Disposing of food waste in landfills produces methane gas, which is extremely potent, around 25 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and contributes to the production of leachate, a toxic liquid which can contaminate groundwater. The very process of transporting food waste to the landfill contributes to the release of harmful greenhouse gases which emit from the trucks that carry the waste. Knowing this, landfills should always be your last choice when disposing of food...a disposer is a much more eco-friendly option.

MYTH 2: Food Waste Disposers are Bad for Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants

This is no longer true thanks to the modernization of municipal wastewater treatment plants. These modern plants can process organic food waste from a disposer, which is similar to that of human waste, typically around 70% water and 30% solids. Modern water treatment plants can also capture biosolids from food waste that can be turned into agricultural fertilizer. The methane gas given off from the food waste can be captured and used to produce energy to power plants and reduce the use of fossil fuels.

MYTH 3: Disposers are a Major Cause of Pipe Blockages Caused by Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG)

Studies have been conducted on the FOG deposits found in sewer blockages with results showing that most blockages are not related to disposers, but result from liquid fats that are not correctly removed from grease interceptors. Food waste was also not found in the hard FOG deposits that resulted in sewer blockages. Most municipalities have some type of preventative maintenance program, and when followed correctly, these can significantly lower the amount of blockages resulting from any source.

MYTH 4: Food Waste Stored in Trash Containers Does Not Pose Any Health Risk

This myth is very much not true. Decaying food which is placed in storage or trash container can produce harmful airborne pathogens which can cause illness to you or your employees. In addition to reducing the airborne pathogens present in your kitchen, food waste disposers also reduce the number of insects and rodents you will have, which are often attracted by decaying food left in trash cans. The use of food waste disposal units creates an overall healthier kitchen environment.

MYTH 5: Food Waste Disposers Use Too Much Water

Most food waste disposal systems can be purchased with devices that regulate water usage by calculating the amount of water needed for the specific application. For example, InSinkErator food waste disposers offer the advanced Aqua Saver® control, which decreases water usage by up to 70% compared to conventional disposer systems.

Using water as the carrier for food waste, you are also reducing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted from garbage trucks, which are typically used to move waste. Treating food waste at a water treatment plant is also environmentally preferable to treating it as solid waste.

MYTH 6: Food Waste Disposers Use Too Much Electricity

Food waste disposers are generally do not use as much energy as most people believe they will. Based on the national average, commercial food waste disposers cost around $43 / year to operate, which averages out to around $0.12 / day. (These calculations are based on a 2 HP disposer that operates for 2 hours a day, 365 days per year, with an electrical cost of $0.10 / kW-hr.)