Food waste is a major and growing problem in the U.S.
Americans waste up to 50 percent more food than U.S. consumers did in the 1970s, according to National Institutes of Health. And the government last year declared its first ever, national food waste reduction goals.
Now food waste — and trash in general — are getting to be such big problems that pockets of many U.S. cities are having a difficult time managing rubbish on trash days. (Just try to walk along narrow sidewalks in a New York City neighborhood on trash day. Add frozen mounds of snow to the mix, and forget it.) The garbage, in turn, takes more money and energy to transport to landfill space that's also limited.
This all partly explains why some U.S. cities have been trying out in-sink, electric garbage disposals as a way to reduce trash and transform food scraps into renewable sources of energy.
In the high-density Point Breeze neighborhood of south Philadelphia, for example, streets are tight. "There's very little place to store trash," said Carlton Williams, a Philadelphia city official. He made the comments in a video for the city.
After a two-year-plus pilot program between Philadelphia and InSinkErator, a business unit of Emerson, the city now requires in-sink food waste disposers in new residential construction. The regulation went into effect earlier this year. It was signed into law in late 2015.
"It's counterintuitive that using a disposer somehow is good for the environment," Michael Keleman, an environmental engineer for Emerson, tells CNBC. And yes, using garbage disposers require water and electricity.