Jeanette Ward, communications manager at Franke UK, reflects on the benefits of waste disposal units, and how their growth in popularity is contributing to a positive impact on the environment by reducing the amount of kitchen waste that goes to landfill by up to 50% per household.
"With many of us becoming more aware of environmental issues such as plastic consumption and climate change due to successful campaigning from Greta Thunberg and Sir David Attenborough, we are all looking for ways to live more sustainably. With the continued fight against plastic use, consumers are now becoming greatly aware of other environmental factors, such as household waste, that also have a negative impact on our planet.
"If we think about what we have in our homes that help us live in more environmentally friendly way, the most common answers would probably be recycling bins, compost bins or maybe even solar panelling. One of the unsung heroes in the kitchen for sustainably disposing of household food waste is a waste disposal unit. WDUs are a common household appliance in America but market penetration in the UK still remains relatively low with only approximately 6% of UK homes having one installed. With over 7million tonnes of food waste ending up in landfill each year emitting harmful greenhouse gases, this simple addition to a kitchen can make a big difference, significantly reducing the amount of kitchen waste that goes to landfill by up to 50% per household.
"We can see from the rising sales in WDUs that their popularity is increasing but it’s still relatively low, which means there is a lot of potential considering that 69% of UK residents see food waste as an environmental issue. The pandemic has been a major factor in further thinking about our existence and the way we live and work in our homes. With more emphasis on home-centred living and our increase in shopping, cooking, washing and generating more household waste, consumers are looking for ways to make life a lot easier, while also reducing energy bills and our environmental impact.
"Waste disposal units are simple and easy to use. They make short work of grinding up food waste quickly and efficiently and then simply flushing it away. Not only does a WDU reduce the amount of waste that ends up in a landfill, but also the waste can be recycled into a soil conditioner at the water treatment plant or used to create biogas for electricity.
"Disposing of food waste in an eco- and odour-friendly way can also help to transform kitchens into a cleaner and more enjoyable space. WDU models with antibacterial protection, such as the Franke Turbo Elite range, are a great choice for hygiene as they give more protection to prevent unwanted odours in the kitchen. In a climate where hygiene has moved up the list of priorities, they are definitely an option to explore.
"As an industry, we can play an important role in promoting the awareness of products, such as WDUs, which can make a significant positive impact on the environment. We saw with our 'Refill not Landfill' campaign how consumers responded positively to behavioural changes on plastic usage. This showed how influential our industry’s products and campaigns can be in changing consumers’ mindsets and encouraging them to become more environmentally friendly. As Greta Thunberg says ‘you are never too small to make a difference’."