Thursday, February 16, 2006

Grinding Forward

As we had hoped, at yesterday's Stated Meeting the City Council introduced the pilot program for the legalization of food waste disposers in commercial establishments, a measure that the Alliance has been promoting for the past three years. Intro 133 will allow 1500 supermarkets, green grocers and other food stores to install disposers that will greatly alleviate the disposal costs of these neighborhood businesses.

Of course the benefits of the use of disposers go way beyond the cost-avoidance that they bring to retailers. In addition, disposers will reduce truck traffic, cut down on the export of city garbage, and greatly enhance public health.

What Intro 133 will do is to establish a methodology to gauge the impact that disposers might have on the city's waste water infrastructure. This evaluation is necessary because critics of their use have claimed, without real justification in our view, that disposers threaten the environmental health of the city's surrounding waterways.

That is why the Alliance, in collaboration with Sanitation Committee chairman Mike McMahon, will be bringing in two of the world's leading experts on food waste disposers, Professors Robert Ham and Carol Diggelman to help the Council develop the evaluative methodology for the pilot
program. What is clear, however, is that the use of disposers at both the commercial as well as the residential venues is the best method at the city's disposal to reduce waste and help alleviate the municipal dependency on exporting garbage.

Which brings us to the second measure introduced at yesterday's Council meeting, Intro 112. This bill, introduced by McMahon, would mandate the installation of disposers for each new kitchen installation done in the city. In combination, the Council is definitely moving in the right direction to reduce waste and also to reduce the need for additional transfer station construction.