Easter + Waste Management

2 Apr

I’m officially another year older – the big 2-9.  Needless to say, I see many more 29th birthdays in my future.  I plan on staying this age for…ever.  🙂  My birthday happened to fall on Easter this year, and since I share a birthday with my now 15 year old sister (eeeek!), we decided to get a little more creative than usual with the birthday cake:

Bunny Cake

I adore this cake.  It broke my heart a little to cut into it and end its cute streak, but it was so worth it.  My sister has an artistic streak, so sculpting the fondant was right up her alley.  She was assisted by her little friend (whom she now refers to as her boyfriend) and Brother (because Brother Bakes, duh!).  It was a low key holiday, which I appreciate.  We normally spend our holidays running between 2-3 different places, so it was relaxing just to go to one place and enjoy a meal and then go home!  Also, please take note of my trashtastic, unflattering birthday attire:

BirthdayGals

While this is un-birthday related, we bought a garbage disposal and she♥ is  installing it.  The timing is too good to pass up, so I am telling everyone I got a garbage disposal for my birthday!  Many people claim that garbage disposals have negative effects on the environment, so I did a little bit of research.

Garbagedisposal

There are pros and cons for garbage disposals, much like every other consumer choice and I believe that you should always do your research and make an informed decision.  That’s really what sustainability is all about – thinking about how each aspect of each choice affects systems.

Pros: 
Less garbage is trucked to landfills each year.
Rotting food waste at landfills creates methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas.  Diverting some of that waste can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Most water treatment plants are equipped to handle small scraps.
Some wastewater treatment facilities are now equipped to capture biogases (like methane) for energy.
Garbage disposals raise the value of your home when its being appraised.
We purchased ours from Kitchen Aide, which claims to use around 7 kWh annually.
 
Cons:
Food waste was never meant to be released into our water systems.
Releasing nutrients from food waste en masse into the water system can cause eutrophic algae blooms in local waterways, which can destroy aquatic ecosystems.
People commonly pour grease into garbage disposals, which can cause serious damage to sewage systems and have serious implications on the environment. (This seems more like user error than the fault of the garbage disposal.)
 

The bottom line is this:  nothing will ever have less environmental impact than composting food waste.  Composting uses no energy, diverts waste from landfills, reduces greenhouse gases, improves soil quality and creates renewable, chemical-free fertilizer all while making soil more drought resistant, and composting improves public sanitation by diverting food waste from dumpster and garbage cans which attract insects and rodents.

These are all factors to take into consideration when you determine what is the right choice for your family.  We truly have very limited kitchen scraps.  I try to waste very little when I am cooking and many of the veg scraps get fed to the dogs.  They love all veggies, in fact Liberty even eats lettuce!  I’ve been really great at portioning things out for just two people and anything leftover normally gets eaten for lunch the next day.  Until I am able to figure out a way to compost without all three of my dogs breaking into the compost area and eating out of it – so disgusting – then we are going to use our garbage disposal sparingly and responsibly.

Do you have a garbage disposal?

Do you compost?

Do your pets eat veggies?  If so, what is their favorite? 

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One Response to “Easter + Waste Management”

  1. nades3 April 2, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    We compost and love to do it! We have one of those drums you can spin every couple of days to aerate the material. I end up with several large volumes of compost each year and we definitely use it!

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