Paradigm Shift

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Many communities around the globe are looking to source-separated organics programs to manage food scraps. In fact, according to BioCycle the number of these programs in the US has increased 50% since 2009. But not everyone is able to participate in green bin programs ‒ or willing to. (The city of Ottawa, Canada has heard from opposing residents for a while and one could argue officials might try to “handle” the matter a bit differently.)  Disposers, as a way of discarding non-compostables like meat products, can be a tool to complement green bins, especially in multi-family residences where the logistics of collecting food scraps is a challenge. With nearly 60% of all US homes already using a disposer, a great opportunity exists for diversion without a single additional cent invested in green bins or collection equipment of any kind.

Densely-populated areas are seeing a proliferation of start-up businesses in . . . food scrap collection. All that an entrepreneurial young urbanite needs is a bicycle, a trailer ‒ and a place to dispose of the waste.

Disposers are traditionally utilized for kitchen clean-up to discard of food prep scraps and post-meal, for cleaning plates. But what if people used them to get rid of all food scraps? It could significantly reduce the 34 million tons of food waste generated in the US every year, most of which ends up at landfills and incinerators.  US EPA


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The focus of my work at InSinkErator® is about how food waste impacts municipal infrastructure and in particular, wastewater treatment plants. Climate change is also an important factor in the discussion. I count myself fortunate to have met so many accomplished people as a result of the work I do — many of whom are considered “gurus” in their respective fields and whose knowledge I’ve been fortunate enough to experience and on occasion, tap into.

I hope through this blog to maintain a personal connection with the experts I’ve met by writing about a wide variety of topics and inviting input and discussion.  A few of the initial ideas I’d like to explore are:

  • -Energy production
  • -Operational and maintenance challenges in collections systems
  • -PCPPs; food waste and PCPPs
  • -Beneficial reuse of biosolids and public education
  • -Peak phosphorus
  • -Reports and observations from the conferences I attend and occasionally present at, including WEFTEC, NACWA, BioCycle, NEBRA and others
  • -Research I am working on
  • -The “brain drain” in the industry
  • -Interesting projects from around the world and in particular, the work of National Geographic Explorer  T.H. Culhane  

I’m very interested in hearing from readers about topics of interest for discussion. Please comment or email me if there’s something you’d like for this blog to tackle. It’s my hope to bring together a variety of voices and thus, a number of ideas.

Cloaca Maxima, the sewer system built in the sixth or seventh century B.C. by one of the ancient rulers of Rome. (Public Domain. Courtesy Lalupa, Wikipedia).