Organic (in the generally-from-an-organism sense of the word) waste can be difficult to dispose of from dwellings with no outdoor space for composting, and (in New Zealand, at least) it is not collected separately from general rubbish without incurring a substantial additional cost.
This means apartment dwellers etc are left with the following choices for disposing of their organic waste:
- Mix it in with the general non-recyclable waste
- Pay extra for commercial collection
- Use an under-sink waste disposal unit to pulverise the waste and dispose of it through the wastewater system, mixed with water
I've commonly heard references to the problems caused by mixing it with general waste, which include leachate from landfills, high methane emissions, and odour problems prior to collection.
To better understand the environmental impact of people's choices, I'm wondering if measurement has been done of the additional cost incurred by wastewater treatment plants in treatment of the additional waste in the system from the third option above.
Both an economic cost and an environmental cost (such as a carbon footprint), would be useful to have.
It's worth mentioning that other options may also be a possibility in some cases, such as a local community compost facility. This might be something we can all aspire to have in future.