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less bad: Trash or Sink?  RSS feed

 
Andy Commons
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OK, I don't have a compost pile right now (snow), and no worm bin either,
so I have to choose between these two ways to dispose of my veggie waste.

a. Toss in the trash
b. Send down the sink via Disposall

Let's assume a few things. First, I'm on a sewer system (not septic) and you can only select from these two choices in this thought experiment. Answers like "give it to a friend with chickens" or "Freeze it till spring" may be good, but not what I'm after.

I'm wondering if one way is better than the other, and if so, perhaps it should be promoted more.

I guess I'm asking,  which has the lower impact?
Food rotting in a landfill
vs.
food heading down the sewer system to be processed.

-Andy

 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Probably less impact going to the land-fill where it will break down on its own, and help some of its surrounding trash to break down as well.
 
T. Joy
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Only if it's sent off to the landfill in a biodegradable trash bag. Excavations on landfills have unearthed a steak from the 60's in perfect condition. Things just don't break down very well when entombed in plastic.

What happens to stuff that is processed from the sewer? If it's used for compost (some places do) that might be a better option. They have to be doing something with it, right?
 
                          
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Offhand, I'm saying down the sink. 

Landfill is undefined.  How far is it trucked?  Is it really a landfill, or does your region incinerate trash?  If it's wet and you're trying to burn it, that'll take energy.  Landfill has limited capacity, while sewage sludge is moved on to other uses.  The sewage plant isn't the end disposal.  (Where and how that's used should be a separate discussion.)  Stuff travels to the plant by pipeline, which is generally less energy demanding than trucking.

Dan
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Your thought-experiment makes me uncomfortable!
Those insinkerator things hardly exist over here, so luckily for me it doesn't even work on a hypothetical level.
But if I had to choose, I imagine shoving nutrient into a system that's designed to deal with it would be...less bad.
 
                    
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craftylittlemonkey wrote:
Only if it's sent off to the landfill in a biodegradable trash bag. Excavations on landfills have unearthed a steak from the 60's in perfect condition. Things just don't break down very well when entombed in plastic.


Those excavations were in the desert, where moisture was very limited (and limiting). In most humid areas, organic matter does break down in landfills - the methane has to be vented off to reduce the risk of explosions.
 
maikeru sumi-e
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Mmm, you can still do some composting outside even if it's cold. I've been doing it this winter. As long as I could have it contact the ground where I know the worms are and bury it deep under organic stuff, I knew it'd be fine. Haven't attracted any animals besides a few robins feeding on worms. And the compost piles melt the snow and ice on them.

If you don't have other options, I'd do bokashi.
 
                    
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I don't quite understand your problem.  Do you not have a compost pile at all, or do you feel your pile is not accessible now because of snow?  If the latter, you do not have a problem.  Just add to the compost on top of the snow, I did that for years, the snow melts come spring and the compost resumes.
 
Andy Commons
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Thanks to the folks who educated me that there are other options.
I'm looking into those, but the point wasn't so much MY situation, but more of a "Lesser of two evils" type thing.

I actually placed a call to the Missoula Wastewater Treatment department, and if I get a call back I'll ask THEM which they prefer.

I've been wondering if all the "organic matter" (that isn't human waste) is helpful or harmful to their process.

-Andy
 
Dave Miller
pollinator
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Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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It is my understanding that most sewage solids are dried (lots of energy) then hauled to a landfill.  So either way it ends up in the landfill.

I agree that you should just keep using your compost pile even if it's frozen.  If you're worried about animals, come up with some kind of covering.  I just cover new compost material with old compost material.  Occasionally I have to bust through a layer of frozen compost to find something loose to use for covering, but it's rare to have the whole pile frozen solid, because the moisture (rain/melted snow) seems to mostly be in the top 4".
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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it isn't the best answer but here in the frozen tundra of Northern lp Mich I put mine in a compost tumbler over the winter..some I throw out on top of the snow in the garden..

I am finding I PREFER it thrown out on t op of the snow in the garden actually, the compost tumbler has not been serving me as well as I hoped.
 
Paula Edwards
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I really don't understand why there should be a problem with the compost bin in winter. If it is too far I would pile the stuff somewhere else close to the door, maybe even in a cardboard box and dig it under in spring or simply pile some leaves on the top.
There are even these expensive balcony composters I think they are called bocasi. You can compost almost everywhere.
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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Andy Commons wrote:
OK, I don't have a compost pile right now (snow), and no worm bin either,
so I have to choose between these two ways to dispose of my veggie waste.

a. Toss in the trash
b. Send down the sink via Disposall

Let's assume a few things. First, I'm on a sewer system (not septic) and you can only select from these two choices in this thought experiment. Answers like "give it to a friend with chickens" or "Freeze it till spring" may be good, but not what I'm after.

I'm wondering if one way is better than the other, and if so, perhaps it should be promoted more.

I guess I'm asking,  which has the lower impact?
Food rotting in a landfill
vs.
food heading down the sewer system to be processed.

-Andy





Neither is acceptable.

I grew up in the NE literally watching over the course of 20 years huge landfills appear, get covered, and then houses built on top 10 years later.  Now all those people who live in those homes are getting sick from all sorts of insane rare aliments.

Sewers, not an option either.  It is an increase to all kinds of pollution downstream.  Many cities even "eject" waste water into rivers during storms because no one designed them to deal with large storms.

The organic and sustainable thing to do is compost it.
 
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