Ashley Munden

Ashley Munden, InSinkErator Europe managing director, has worked in the industry for almost 30 years. His vast experience means he is able to authoritatively comment on the general market and the issues affecting it, and the environmental benefits of food waste disposers and steaming hot water taps.

Don't let the opportunity go to waste, says Ashley Munden

Posted 16th Oct 2013

It was the ideal Escape to the Country on the BBC's popular house-hunting programme. The property was large and spacious, with no surrounding neighbours and great views. The prospective buyer was a successful businesswoman with money to spend. Then came the deal buster: “Oh dear,” she said. “It doesn't have a dishwasher.”

Had our lady been viewing a similar property in the US, the lack of a waste disposer unit would have been no less of a disappointment.

Waste disposer units, much like dishwashers, must become a standard installation in new homes if we are truly serious about attacking the UK's waste problem. American consumers viewing a new home would be horrified if the kitchen didn't include a waste disposer; the product is a given in their market, where household penetration is approximately 50%.

Compare that figure to the UK penetration rate, which is around 10%. Waste disposer units are a fantastic selling opportunity for the retailer, offer great added value to the building trade and homeowners, and are of genuine benefit to everyday living and the environment.

Waste disposers have become engrained in the American consumer's conscience as a 'must have' appliance. The country is a big continent with a big food waste problem. The UK is a small island with a similarly big problem – with people now eating and wasting more than ever before. Landfill sites are not bottomless pits and other ways have to be found of disposing of waste responsibly.

So why are domestic waste disposer units not as popular in the UK as they are in the US? Because, in a sense, we are still in denial about our food-waste problem, and are only just beginning to seriously address it with Government initiatives.

In many areas of the US, the installation of domestic waste disposers is mandatory in new-build properties. The food waste disposer became a favourite of the plumbing industry, and is heavily promoted by the kitchen industry with the product very much fitting with changing lifestyles.

Food waste accounts for around 20% of all household rubbish, and it is estimated that local authorities could save around £33 per household if everyone were to use a food waste disposer. Food scraps that have been through a waste disposer can be used to create bio solids as part of a holistic waste-management approach, where recycled material can be used as a power source, soil conditioner or fertiliser.

Disposers offer countless benefits to households and local authorities. They dispose of food waste effortlessly in-home, reduce the need for kerbside collections, reduce cross-contamination of waste streams, cut waste to landfill and prove a rich source of fertiliser and renewable energy. As more UK consumers begin to see the benefits of these products, so they will expect to have one.

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