What is the Biggest Cost Associated with Waste Disposal?

source reduction

The number one cost of waste disposal is buying the goods that eventually end up in your waste stream.

For example, take an 8-inch, round head of lettuce. If that head of lettuce wilted before you could sell it or use it and you threw it in the garbage whole, the volume that the head of lettuce would displace in the trash would be about 268 cubic inches. If you were paying the equivalent of $8 per cubic yard for waste disposal, the relative cost impact would be less than 5 cents. However, that same head of lettuce might have cost $1.50 to purchase originally, or 30 times the cost of disposal!

What a waste. $1.55 spent on each head of lettuce from the time it is purchased till the time it is thrown out. If you had a piece of technology that tracked your volume of waste and told you how to avoid the purchase of those items, well it would seem that the simplest and cheapest method for savings could therefore come from source reduction, not from switching methods of disposal.

Source reduction prevents the purchase and production of waste and is a tremendously beneficial method of sustainable waste management. Environmentally, source reduction drastically lowers the amount of materials, labor and energy used for creating, storing, and selling products. Economically, source reduction cuts back on the amount of waste that is thrown away, thus lowering waste disposal costs.

However, in order to reduce the food waste at the source, you must know what is wasted. Utilizing a technology solution like the Eco-Safe Digester allows you to measure, track, and reduce what is wasted in addition to removing the waste from landfills. A solution that moves you towards a more sustainable food waste management process helps to make disposal costs a thing of the past.

While disposing of waste into landfills continues to be the most utilized method of food waste management in the United States, source reduction has proven to be more sustainable and economical. If restaurants and supermarkets could avoid creating waste by focusing on their purchasing and prep practices, the wins would be far greater than managing the waste on the back end.


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