Mayor Nutter and InSinkErator Chairman Jerry Ryder in a ‘throw down’ at a demonstration sink, in the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia. (Credit: Steve Tawa)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The city of Philadelphia wants you to know that the garbage disposal in your sink can help reduce the trash stream by 10%. A pilot program will study how those food waste disposers can divert waste from landfills.

Emerson, the Wisconsin-based company that makes the made in the USA InSinkErator is donating 200 units in West Oak Lane and Point Breeze to help evaluate their efficacy.

“We’re going to install a couple of hundred of them for free, in two specific garbage truck routes, so that the city could do a test to see how much good we could accomplish keeping food out of garbage trucks and out of landfills,” says InSinkerator’s David MacNair.

The goal is to turn the stuff into renewable energy and fertilizer after being processed by Philadelphia’s wastewater treatment plants.

Then, by combining them with the folks who already have garbage disposals, John Ungar of the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation says they will evaluate how much food waste they divert from landfills.

“Even the folks who don’t sign up — our canvasser goes door-to-door, so everybody knows how to use a food waste disposer, and what the environmental benefits are.”

Deputy Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams says about 40% of Philadelphia households already have food waste disposers.

“We’ll measure the baseline study against the test routes to determine how much and how effective it was in removing waste from the stream.”

Garbage disposals convert food scraps, which average 70% water, into a liquid slurry that moves easily through underground sewers.

By Steve Tawa