Garburators, their function and their role in the environment is a complex topic. The question as to whether or not you should own one is sometimes decided by where you live. In Toronto, Ottawa and Guelph, garburator use has been officially banned. The debate continues however on their eco-friendliness.
In the ‘yes-it-is-environmentally-friendly’ corner we have the garburator companies. In the ‘they-are-not-overly-environmentally-friendly’ corner we have researchers. Both sides do make some fair points. We need to look at the entire picture to arrive at a conclusion.
In Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo, the region has started down a more active path of composting our food waste. By picking up compost materials weekly and trash bi-weekly, it has encouraged residents to participate in composting programs. The program has been so successful that the region has reported a higher than expected jump in tonnage being delivered to local composting facilities.
The common belief that using a garburator ‘feeds the fish’ is not quite accurate. Pouring food waste into our treatment facilities means that we are treating materials that do not require treatment. This puts additional strain on the treatment plants in terms of sheer volume and increased energy to process this volume.
Sewage treatment plants are not all created equally and even the best designs allow nutrients to enter our clean water system. Allowing food products into the water increases nutrient concentration and it depletes oxygen in the water as the foods decay – both are problematic.
Garburators may be marginally better than simply throwing the food out with regular garbage but the tides are turning on how we view the process. The most environmentally friendly way of disposing of our food waste is to compost.
At Chasles Plumbing Professionals, we still install garburators – they have not been banned in this region yet, but there’s no guarantee that day won’t soon arrive.
Call us if you’d like more information on this topic. In the meantime, here are our recommendations for reducing the amount of food waste:
- Browse through the almost-expired produce in your local grocery store. Often this food still has shelf-life remaining – save money and prevent from being thrown in the garbage
- Get creative with left overs. You’ll save the environment and some money at the same time
- Don’t buy more food than you need
Compost if you can:
- We already have a great system for composting here in the Kitchener-Waterloo Region. We recommend that you use it
- If you have yard space, consider composting in your own backyard and putting that material to good use in flower beds. Put some in a box with a bow and give it to your neighbour. Boy will they be delighted with your thoughtfulness! 🙂