Monday, August 24, 2015

Using that in-sink food grinder may lead to higher property tax

Since Metro Vancouver has started the process of banning organic waste from going to landfill, mandating that organic waste collection occur for all residential, commercial, and industrial buildings in the region, there is concern that people may start using in-sink food grinders more.

People may use in-sink food grinders because they believe that it is environmentally friendly and more convenient than using a green bin. The following picture is from an InSinkErator activity book for children which is meant to reinforce this belief.

From Market to Market: one apple’s incredible journey activity book. Select to enlarge.

So, why is using an in-sink food grinder a bad idea? When you put food down the drain, it increases Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOS) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS) in the wastewater system. To process this in the wastewater system costs $1,800 per tonne. It costs $70 per tonne if processed via the green bin organic waste collection program.

Grinding food down the drain ends up costing regional taxpayers a tonne of money. If more food scraps get put into the wastewater system, it could also trigger the need for costly treatment plant expansion. The end result is even higher property tax to pay for premature treatment planet expansion.

Right now, 80% of all BOS and TSS comes from residential sources. For the past twenty years, Metro Vancouver has only noticed a slight increase of BOS and TSS being processed. Today, 45% of all households in the region have in-sink food grinders. Of that 45%, 44% use the grinders at least every day. Metro Vancouver doesn’t want to see that number go up.

The regional district is now looking into banning in-sink food grinders in the commercial sector. It is also looking at setting up an education program for people living in the region to let them know about the high cost of using in-sink food grinders.

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