Food waste is one third of the residential garbage in Seattle (nearly 45,000 tons) and is transported by train 300 miles to an Oregon landfill. Food waste takes up space in the landfill, and produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that affects climate change.
Instead, food waste can be collected and turned into compost at a local compost facility. Compost nourishes soil for healthier plants and gardens. Compost-rich soil also absorbs run-off and breaks down urban pollutants like oil, grease, metals, fertilizers, and pesticides which can harm fish in urban streams or Puget Sound.
Benefits to Properties
In addition to compliance with Seattle city law, property managers report the following benefits to having a successful food waste collection program on their properties:
- Helps prevent costly repairs due to clogged drains and sewer lines
- Improves morale as residents like “green” features
- Can reduce garbage service or overflow costs, especially when combined with a successful recycling program
These case studies (pdf) provide examples.
What about in-sink garbage disposal?
Garbage disposals use unnecessary fresh drinking water and energy to process material that can go into the food waste collection cart. Depending on how long the disposal is turned on, it can use as much water as several toilet flushes. Garbage disposals send food waste through the sewer system, adding an extra load for treatment. The water treatment plant must use more water and energy to clean the water of additional nutrients and solids before discharging it into Puget Sound. In addition, any fats, oil or grease (FOG) going down the sink or disposal with food waste can build up in drains, causing expensive sewer clogs and overflows. Your building’s maintenance staff will appreciate less stress on the plumbing if you use the food and yard waste cart!
How compost is made
Yard waste and food waste is processed into compost and sold at your local home and garden stores. See how compost is made.