So, it turns out I, and a lot of other people, were wrong to think that food waste disposers aren’t great for the environment.
I read somewhere that macerating and then flushing down the waste pipe created mayhem in the sewage treatment plants.
Not so, says Michael Keleman, chief sustainability engineer for InSinkErator, who’s spent much of the past nine years doing research into what happens when your smashed banana skins and broccoli stalks enter the waste water system. Hint: it’s good!
While composting remains the best way of dealing with vegetable food waste, the next best thing is the InSinkErator-type food waste disposer. Better still, food waste disposers can handle protein and bones that you don’t want in your compost. Flush it all down the sink with confidence!
Firstly, the food/water mix that exits your house is a slurry of finely chopped food and water. It’s very unlikely to create stoppages in the pipe. It doesn’t cause the Fatbergs – an evil mix of tampons, cooking fat and assorted other absorbent items – that block sewage lines. In fact, the food waste slurry may actually help prevent them, because the little globules of fat floating in the water end up sticking to the tiny vegetable pieces and thus get flushed out of the system, along with the slurry, instead of coagulating on floating bits of non-degradable sponges. Yuk!
Secondly, it turns out the carbon released by the food waste actually aids the chemical reactions at the treatment plants. Because there’s so much nitrogen in the sewage, the added carbon from food waste increases the chemical processes, speeding up the conversion to safe water.