New Survey Shows High Awareness of Environmental Challenges of Food Waste, But Many Don’t Recognize Potential of Garbage Disposals to Help Address the Problem
RACINE, Wis. (May 2, 2017) – Simply put, food waste is a big environmental problem. It’s the largest source of waste in our nation’s landfills, where it sits and produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
There’s a simple solution to this food waste challenge, and it’s sitting right under many American sinks. But a new survey shows that nearly half of Americans didn’t know that in-sink garbage disposers can reduce the amount of food waste headed to our landfills.
The survey, commissioned by Emerson’s InSinkErator® business unit, indicated strong concern for food waste’s impact on the environment, with 66 percent citing it as a significant problem. But 49 percent of respondents didn’t connect garbage disposer use with alleviating this problem. In fact, 72 percent admit they still sometimes dispose of food and food waste in the trash. This discrepancy could be a matter of familiarity with disposals, with industry estimates that more than half of American homes have disposers installed today.
“We know that people who have disposers in their homes use them regularly, and they love the convenience,” said Chad Severson, president of Emerson’s InSinkErator. “But as this new survey shows, many are potentially missing the connection between disposers and reducing food waste in our landfills. If more Americans use disposers for food waste, we can make an impact on a significant environmental challenge.”
InSinkErator garbage disposals grind even the toughest foods into tiny pieces. Disposal technology has advanced significantly in recent years, with today’s InSinkErator Evolution® disposals capable of grinding everything from corn cobs, bones and apple cores to banana peels, avocado pits and fruit and veggie peels. Once ground, food waste is sent through a home’s wastewater plumbing to treatment facilities, which are equipped to process the slurry more efficiently than landfills.
A growing number of communities are taking an additional environmentally responsible step to convert ground food waste into energy by using anaerobic digesters wastewater treatment systems to process food waste. With digesters, methane gas can be captured and used to produce renewable energy. Other byproducts are fertilizer and clean water.
The combination of disposals and digesters may deliver significant reductions in food waste headed to landfills. In a series of two-year pilot projects supported by InSinkErator, five U.S. cities saw a 30 percent reduction in food waste in participating households on average. The city of Philadelphia, one of the pilot program participants, last year enacted a new building ordinance calling for installation of disposals in all new homes constructed in the city.
“With or without digesters at wastewater facilities, grinding food waste is an environmentally responsible option versus putting it in a landfill,” Severson said. “But, as more and more people become familiar with the benefits of grinding food waste, and as more communities adopt digesters, we have the potential to not only significantly reduce landfill waste, but to potentially establish a source of renewable energy at the same time.”
Headquartered in Racine, Wis., InSinkErator, a business of Emerson (NYSE: EMR), is the world’s largest manufacturer of food waste disposers and instant hot water dispensers for home and commercial use. For more information about InSinkErator products, call 1-800-558-5700 or visit the company’s website at www.insinkerator.com.
Emerson (NYSE: EMR), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global technology and engineering company providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, and residential markets. Our Emerson Automation Solutions business helps process, hybrid, and discrete manufacturers maximize production, protect personnel and the environment while optimizing their energy and operating costs. Our Emerson Commercial and Residential Solutions business helps ensure human comfort and health, protect food quality and safety, advance energy efficiency, and create sustainable infrastructure. For more information visit Emerson.com.