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Food Scraps: Trash vs. Garbage Disposal

By January 24, 2018Water Sources
cabbage, orange peels, food scraps, conservation, sustainability, garbage disposal, landfill, water, education

Ever wonder where you should put your food scraps? Those little pieces of food that end up on our counters and in the sink… What’s better, trash or garbage disposal?

Your best option is to compost. Few people operate at-home systems, and curbside compost pick-up is a luxury, so what’s realistic for you?

landfill, garbage, sustainable

In the trashcan, everything will end up in a landfill. Easy enough to understand. That’s not the best place because, you know, mega mountains of trash… In the garbage disposal, there are four possibilities of where they could end up: compost, in a landfill, burned – incinerated, or leaching into the ground if you’re on a septic system.


Okay, so which option is better?! That depends where you live.


Anything traveling down the garbage disposal will travel through city water lines and meet up with

food scraps, garbage disposalall kinds of sewage. All s**t rolls down hill to the wastewater treatment plant to be cleaned up (lots of science happening in this process). Now it’s not sewage water, but not quite up to drinking quality. The effluent, or treated wastewater, is eventually discharged back into a body of water. Usually the same one the water was pulled from in the first place. But there are leftovers. Typically called sewage sludge, or biosolids.

The sludge’s fate is the determining factor in the great debate of food scrap disposal. In Austin, the wastewater treatment plant sends all sludge to the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Facility at Hwy 71 & TX-130 Tollway. This means all our food scraps become compost! Austin sells this compost as “Dillo Dirt” to commercial landscaping companies. The Dillo Dirt is also used for city parks and other green spaces.

If your city doesn’t have a biosolids plant, your best bet is to toss the food scraps in the trashcan. It will save some energy during the treatment process and will get to mega trash mountain quicker.

So now…go find out what happens to your wastewater!! Follow the easy steps below:

  1. Search “wastewater treatment plant” + your town, state.
  2. Find the applicable website for the facility that services your house.
  3. The process might be listed on their website, if not give them a call and ask:
    1. “Hello! I was wondering what your facility does with its sewage sludge, or biosolids.”
    2. Possible clarifying questions: Where is the landfill or disposal site? Is the methane from incineration captured as energy? Is the compost used in the city? Is it for sale?

Comment below or on social media and let us know what you find out!

Thanks for reading this rendition of #waterwednesday!


Sarah 🙂


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Source: City of Austin Wastewater Treatment Plant

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