Food Waste Reduction Target Part of Philadelphia’s Sustainability Goals : Nutter Signs In-Sink Food Waste Disposal Law in Philadelphia

Philadelphia food waste

Mayor Michael Nutter has signed a law requiring in-sink food waste disposers to be installed in all new residential buildings in Philadelphia.

The City explained that the targeting the new requirement emerged from a demonstration project conducted in 2012-13 where in-sink disposers were installed in 175 homes in two neighborhoods, with residents educated as to their use.

Food waste from those homes was said to have been reduced an average of 35%, suggesting that citywide use could significantly reduce the city’s trash while also improving the quality of life – reducing odors and vermin.

"While residential recycling rates have tripled over the past eight years, reducing the amount of food waste in the City's waste stream is critical to meeting more aggressive waste reduction goals,” commented Nutter.

“In-sink food waste disposers are a helpful tool as the City continues to explore opportunities to divert organic material from the waste stream,” he added.

The City explained that its GreenWorks sustainability goals include reducing waste, generating renewable energy and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions – all of which are addressed by expanded use of disposers.

Sponsored by outgoing City Councilmember Dennis O’Brien, the new law was supported by several city agencies, as well as the Building Industry Association, representing the residential development sector.

In-sink disposers convert food scraps into a slurry that passes through wastewater pipes and sewers, delivering it to water resource recovery facilities which the City said can process clean water, and recover organics for processing into biogas and fertiliser products.

Philadelphia recently invested $50 million in its North Treatment Plant to upgrade anaerobic digesters that produce and use biogas from organic wastes; Class A fertiliser products are then produced and marketed by Synagro.

The project was led by the Streets Department’s recycling division, supported by the Philadelphia Water Department and InSinkErator, a manufacturer of food waste processing systems.

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