a discussion about sustainability & garbage disposals

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums SUSTAINABILITY & DESIGN a discussion about sustainability & garbage disposals

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    Jeffrey Orkin

    So after getting laid off in February of 2009 I ended up starting my own company with another fellow lay-offer here in Nashville. We hadn’t originally hoped to be doing it for over a year but once we realized we would be we really shifted the focus to something that we both could be passionate about. Check out our site below for more information about what we are doing.

    This year we started actually doing marketing with the start of our website which I did myself. In all of the reading about SEO stuff I decided to start blogging and tweeting to help get more traffic on the site.


    This is where the garbage disposal discussion begins. We tweet from a book called “the green year” which gives you 365 things you can do to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Today this is what it says, and I’ve never in my life thought about it and wanted to get some educated discussions about it to see if most people believe/support this or if anyone has some evidence that using garbage disposal really isn’t going to affect aquatic life.

    “Keep food waste out of the garbage disposal. The peach pits and cucumber peels that you put in the garbage disposal eventually end up in streams and lakes where they deprive the water of oxygen and kill aquatic life like algae and fish. Running the garbage disposal also uses a lot of water. Instead, add food waste to your compost pile. No compost pile? Put food scraps in the trash. Once food reaches the landfill, it bio-degrades over time. “

    At the bottom of our website and on our contact page there is a twitter icon you can follow us if you’d like!


    Well, if there’s no tertiary treatment of the effluent, it could certainly harm streams and lakes, but that is increasingly uncommon. A greater problem are things like medicines which can’t be removed by sewage treatment. Don’t flush those pills! Garbage disposals use a lot of water, clean water, which isn’t an especially prudent use of it in drier climates. Some feel garbage disposals should be outlawed in parts of the country that are short on water. I favor the composting approach. In landfills, garbage is quickly “capped”, creating anaerobic conditions where things bio-degrade very slowly.

    Roland Beinert

    This may be a bit off-topic, but have you seen this article about food waste powered street lamps: http://www.ecogeek.org/component/content/article/3069

    Jeffrey Orkin

    That’s pretty cool!

    Tim Brown

    You’re website is really well done.
    Did you use a template or did you build from scratch?
    What program did you use to build it?
    Best of luck with your business!

    Jeffrey Orkin

    We used a template for the base scripting, but then I customized most of it to fit our ‘image’ Doing it all in dreamweaver. Thanks for the comments! It was my first site so took a little bit of learning, web is actually fun once you figure it out.


    Not quite sure why this topic appears on this site, but the basic assertions are significantly misinformed. Food scraps increasingly are regarded as a resource – not waste – suitable for conversion back into clean water, fertilizer products and renewable energy (principally methane via anaerobic e). Given that food averages 70% water, in most cases wastewater treatment plants – in process of being re-branded as resource recovery centers – are best positioned to accomplish those goals, and use of existing underground sewers minimizes use of trucks. Over 60 million household disposers in use in U.S.; with growing international adoption – Stockholm recently removed modest restrictions and is encouraging installation and use; Milwaukee last year initiated campaign to encourage their use, to support its long-time efforts to create fertilizer products and boost biogas production. Public health and sanitation concerns also worth noting; immediate removal of food scraps helps minimize vermin, odors, etc.
    And totally misinformed re water use; numerous studies find @ 1 gallon per day – de minimis, in the words of one report. remarkably well-studied issues; can find addtl info and references at http://www.insinkerator.com/green


    Kendall, I heard that info on water use directly from green building consultant Chris Klehm, so I took it as gospel. It has occurred to me that a huge amount of fuel could be saved if all garbage hauled by trucks was dry, even if you are just drying things out before they’re hauled off. We must be trucking millions of gallons of water to landfills when we could be allowing gravity to do it. How many cups half-full with ice are in the average fast-food restaurant’s garbage cans? All that water gets trucked away.
    What is your opinion on home composting?


    Yes, this topic tends to generate alot of misinformation/misperception, vs. looking at the research (e.g., water consumption); it has been a more legit issue with respect to commercial/food service disposers, which conventionally run continuously along with a water feed, but water-control sensors are available that minimize water use when the grind chamber is empty/not engaged….but i digress.
    Yes to the overall point that water-laden food waste is heavy to collect and transport – and begs the question of where you want that water to end up; in most cases, it’s not the landfill – and certainly not an incinerator. wastewater treatment plants are best able to capture/process that water.
    One option on the commercial side are so-called ‘pulpers’ that extract much of the water from food scraps, leaving a de-watered pulp that’s somewhat lighter to transport, and accelerates the composting process because it’s already pulverized. InSinkErator’s system links a pulper to a disposer for that purpose.
    Home composting? most environmental assessments of options give it a slight edge, mostly due to lack of transportation and processing energy. it’s great when it can and does work, but those are both significant barriers; it has its limitations (meats? dairy?) requires space and effort (turning, watering). With most people living in cities, home composting is difficult to consider as a real “systems” solution that will ever amount to much.


    surprise: disposers are factory-tested on frozen steer bones, so can easily handle peach pits – allowing for a bit of noise, of course; perfectly ok to grind bones, as long as they fit w/in the grind chamber and don’t just spin around vertically. mango pods tend to get jammed in the grind chamber because of their size.

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