What is the most eco friendly answer to food waste?

insinkerator-recycle-food-wasteAccording to WRAP, we throw away one third of the food we buy.

While it’s better not to waste food in the first place, a busy lifestyle has a habit of getting in the way. With the best will in the world, most of us have something to throw away at the end of each week; especially if we have children with wildly varying appetites!

In the light of news stories coming out during Recycle Week about the Government’s weekly bin collection ‘u-turn’, I’ve been thinking that if you DO need to dispose of food, what is the most environmentally sound way to do it?

If you simply throw food in the kitchen bin and it ends up in landfill, the food produces methane; an environmentally harmful greenhouse gas around 21 times more potent than CO2.

Composting cooked food waste isn’t suitable for most home composting systems as it can attract vermin, so what is an eco warrior to do?

The InSinkErator food waste disposer provides a convenient and environmentally friendly alternative to transporting leftovers to landfills.

Now I must admit I used to think that grinding up food and putting it down the sink was really strange and not at all environmentally friendly, but I’ve since learned that in some areas, wastewater companies can capture the biogas released to generate renewable energy to power the facility AND any biosolids can be turned into fertiliser or soil conditioner for use in agriculture and home gardening. What’s not to love!

I’m also reassured that food waste disposers use less than 1% of a household’s total water consumption and only use about 3-4 KWh of electricity to run annually. They require little, if any, maintenance and can be recycled after use because they are made from metal.

Looking at the bigger picture, using an InSinkErator reduces the need for transportation emissions from refuse collection lorries and prevents liquid leachate from landfill contaminating ground water.

Now there is a knack to using an InSinkErator and some of the Dos and Don’ts from the company include:


Don’t pour oils or grease down the drain! We’ve highlighted the damage this can do with Yorkshire Water’s campaign ‘Are you doing the dirty‘.

Don’t try to grind large amounts of food waste at one time.

Use cold water when using a disposer because using hot water wastes energy.

Run water for a few seconds after grinding to flush waste and keep debris from settling in the plumbing system.

One eco friendly tip to keep your disposer fresh and disinfected is to save and grind used lemons and other citrus fruit peels. What a great reuse! Our worms and compost heap don’t really like citrus and you know how I love to use lemons for cleaning, so now I can put the peels to good use too.

What about you? I know you are all fabulous about reducing food waste, but what do you do with the stuff that can’t be avoided?


  1. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking on June 25, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Such great tips!! I have used the one with the lemons for the disposal and it works great. Always such wonderful information in your posts! Love reading them!

  2. Mrs Green on July 18, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    @Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking: Thanks Alicia; I’m a huge fan of green cleaning and lemons are excellent at cutting through grease and leaving a ‘just cleaned’ smell 🙂