Letter to the editor: Should Vt. ban kitchen sink garbage disposal?

Given that the standard in Vermont concerning the disposal of food scraps as well as other organic waste is to compost rather than to dispose it in the trash any longer, questions have arisen within my mind about whether it should still be permissible (read: legal) within the state to dispose of food scraps as well as waste down a kitchen sink drain using a garbage disposal system.

Based upon information I have come across online and read thus far, food scraps and waste processed utilizing a kitchen sink garbage disposal unit can cause harm to old pipes whether in a building or an aging public sewer system. It can also cause problems in older water treatment plants; and, even if a water treatment plant is modernized and upgraded to more properly handle and process such food waste, what is left over from the process often times either ends up in a landfill (which, if buried, creates methane, a greenhouse gas) or is otherwise incinerated (which creates carbon emissions). It goes without saying that neither of these is good or healthy for the environment.

It would appear obvious then, at least to my way of thinking, that best practice would be to compost food scraps as well as waste rather than tossing it either in the trash or down the drain of the kitchen sink (even when utilizing a garbage disposal unit).

By the way, according to a report by the UVM Gund Institute for environment issued earlier this year, indications are that Vermont’s food waste composting law has been quite popular across the state.

Meanwhile, apparently, using a residential or commercial kitchen garbage disposal unit is a practice not yet banned in Vermont. One is left to wonder whether it ought to be.

Morgan W. Brown


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