Milwaukee USA

From August 2012 to July 2014, the City of Milwaukee ran a trial to measure the reduction in food waste from homes that use an in-sink food waste disposer to manage food scraps. The City wanted to assess whether the expanded use of disposers could decrease the amount of waste collected by trucks and disposed in landfills, and improve the quality of life of city residents.

Using data from the project, estimates could be made regarding increased production of biogas from food scraps, and the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by diverting food scraps from disposal as trash.

A total of 96 owner occupied households participated in the project. The final waste audit showed that the amount of food waste disposed of in their refuse decreased by 26%, equivalent to 3.2 lbs less food waste per household per week.

Based on these results, if the entire city of Milwaukee used food waste disposers in similar ways, the potential benefits would include:

  • Reduction of residential food waste by 19,000 tons annually
  • Annual offset of GHG emissions equivalent to 1 billion plus auto miles
  • Increase of biogas production from anaerobic digestion to 2,100 ML annually

For full details download the report here.

This initiative forms part of a wider project in which, between 2012 and 2015, trials took place across five cities - Chicago, Philadelphia, Tacoma, Milwaukee, and Boston – to gauge the impact of food waste disposers on the residual waste. Each of the cities shared the goals of organics diversion from the solid waste stream and increasing resource recovery at their wastewater treatment plant.

On average food waste disposer use reduced the amount of discarded food waste by over 30%.  At that rate, after a 3 year period of disposer use, nearly a full year’s worth of food waste would be kept out of landfills. 

For full details read the report.

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