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Lead environmental engineer of InSinkErator Michael Keleman has recently toured around the UK to educate about food waste disposers and eradicate misconceptions about the product. Speaking to Kitchens & Bathrooms News, Keleman said waste disposers always come up against the same misconceptions, worldwide, which is people believe they use a lot of water and electricity, can overload the treatment plant and clog up sewers with fat, oil and grease.
Keleman pointed out electricity use of a food disposer is minimal, stating: “In the U.S we say its 3-4 kw/h per year.” And he added additional water use was insignificant, pointing out: “I looked at 10 studies from around the world on water use. Five of those studies said the water use was either statistically insignificant or less than measurable. The other five you could average it as a gallon per person per day, which is about four or five litres. So what we say it’s probably 1% of the daily household use of water.”
He also countered claims about clogging up sewers with fat and grease, stating : “There was a lot of press, around the world, about what was called the fatberg, which was here in Westminster. It was a bus-sized clog of fat and grease in the sewer. The reality is there are not a lot of waste disposers here, [about 5% penetration across the country], so how it this fatberg formed?”
Keleman argues food disposers actually have a positive effect on the environment with benefits not only reducing landfill but they can create energy and fertilizers. He said water treatment plants can extract the methane and use it to produce electricity. And he added the high carbon value in the food waste can improve nutrient uptake of Nitrogen, reducing algae blooms, and creating fertilizer for soil.
He said kitchen designers should first encourage consumers to think about the convenience of a food disposer, then the feel-good factor of recycling. He said: “We want consumers to understand the convenience a disposer provides them. Newer, modern disposers can essentially deal with all kinds of food waste which eliminates what you have to carry out to the kerb. So you have less vermin, less odours, less waste. And, then, if they could understand that instead of disappearing, it’s going to good use and even though it is easy to do, it's very good for the environment."