New initiative encourages residents to “go green” by using food waste disposers.
Philadelphia, May 24, 2012 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Streets Department Commissioner Clarena I.W. Tolson, InSinkErator officials and community leaders launched a new pilot program called “Clean Kitchen, Green Community” to assess how food waste disposers can help the City reach its sustainability goals. In addition to citywide campaign about the benefits of using a food waste disposer, residents along garbage collection routes in West Oak Lane and Point Breeze will participate in a targeted installation and education initiative to examine how much food waste can be diverted from landfills by using a disposer. The City is partnering with InSinkErator, the world’s leading manufacturer of food waste disposers, and community groups Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation (OARC) in West Oak Lane and Diversified Community Services in Point Breeze on the publicity and installation campaigns.
“Philadelphia is committed to becoming the greenest city in America, and this partnership with InSinkErator is an example of how the private and public sectors can work together to improve the City’s sustainability efforts and residents’ quality of life,” said Mayor Nutter. “We hope this pilot program will point us toward saving tax dollars and a better environment.”
The targeted installation campaign will correspond with testing households’ waste reduction. The Streets Department will assess the volume and composition of waste generated before, during and after the pilot, evaluating reductions and changes that result from the targeted installation campaign. The City and InSinkErator are partnering with OARC and Diversified Community Services to provide 100 homeowners in each neighborhood with a free waste disposer and installation by a local, licensed plumber. OARC and Diversified Community Services will lead the effort to encourage and arrange the installation of disposers in homes without them and educate residents about how to use them effectively.
“At the City of Philadelphia Streets Department, we continue to look for innovative and creative ways to help make our city greener, cleaner and more sustainable,” said Streets Commissioner Clarena I.W. Tolson. “The Clean Kitchen, Green Community pilot program will help us analyze how food waste disposers can divert more waste from landfill, save the City and taxpayers money. We also expect that food waste disposers will be an effective complement to residents’ recycling efforts as a disposer can make it easier for residents to recycle paper, bottles and cans.”
Food waste constitutes roughly 10 percent of waste from homes in Philadelphia, which goes directly into landfills. Every ton diverted from landfill saves the City $68 in tipping fees. By diverting food waste, the City expects that food waste disposers can save money while not adding to homeowners’ utility costs. Food waste disposers use less than one percent of a household’s total water consumption and cost less than 50 cents per year in electricity to operate. They also reduce kitchen odors from spoiled food and can help reduce the amount rodents and insects around homes.
Food waste can also be turned into renewable energy and fertilizer products after being processed by Philadelphia’s wastewater treatment plants. Once disposed, food waste is transported through underground sewer lines to the City’s advanced wastewater treatment plants. Methane generated from the anaerobic digestion of food waste at the plants can be converted into heat and electricity to power the plants; the solids that remain are processed into fertilizer pellets suitable for use on regional farms. Putting food waste down the disposer also prevents the local trucking of heavy, soggy trash, and keeps it from ending up in landfills, where organic waste decomposes and produces methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
“Food waste disposers take food waste out of trash trucks and put it into a wastewater system designed to convert the waste to beneficial biogas energy and fertilizer. This approach is sustainable and allows us to reduce household waste, create energy, and recycles the waste into biosolids pellets for beneficial farming uses,” said Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug.
“InSinkErator is very excited to partner with the City of Philadelphia to help achieve Mayor Nutter’s Greenworks goals. Food waste disposers move food scraps out of trash trucks and landfills to the Water Department, where it’s converted into clean water, renewable energy and fertilizer products,” said Tim Ferry, President of InSinkErator. “We know disposers help make the kitchens and neighborhoods of Philadelphia cleaner and now they can help the City become ‘greener.’”
For more information about the Clean Kitchen, Green Community pilot program, please visit http://www.philadelphiastreets.com. For more information about InSinkErator, please visit http://www.insinkerator.com/green. For more information about OARC, please visit http://www.ogontzave.org. For more information about Diversified Community Services, please visit http://dcsphila.org.