Avoiding That Sinking Feeling

Funky things are happening with the plumbing down under. While I’m still reeling from the clockwise/counter-clockwise toilet flush hoax, Southern hemisphere inventors have moved on. Two recent creations offer solutions to the inefficiency of washing food down the drain.

First, a 9-year-old New Zealand boy invented a contraption that allows you to dump food waste into a compost bin via your kitchen drain. This allows composting without the minor inconvenience of collecting the food waste in a pail and bringing it to your bin.So easy anyone can use it!  (photo by Myles! via Creative Commons)Now comes word of the removable sink. While the primary purpose of this Australian creation is to conserve water (always a good thing), it helps with food waste, too.

After washing the food off dishes, you can remove the sink to water plants with the runoff. Nutrients from the bits of food in the water will only help nourish the plants. And it shouldn’t attract pests because only really small food particles will fit through the strainer.

Overall, it’s like turning your sink into a rain barrel, only indoors and you control the “rain.”

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  1. Zack
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Wow. I can recall being taught the Coriolis Effect in middle school, with reference to that classic Simpsons episode. And this was a magnet middle school, no less. Or maybe I misunderstood and this is why I’m not in the sciences. But, more to the point – Jesus! A nine-year-old? It begs the question: what have *we* done lately?

    Joking aside, I would presume that to use this contraption to water one’s plants one would either be simply rinsing without soap/detergent, or using some low-phosphorous (in small doses it’s good, I understand, for plants) chemical-free brand? Either way, that’s pretty cool. I mean, I’d heard of people using bathwater to this effect, which sounds smart but hellishly inconvenient.

    Anyway, happy new year!

  2. Posted January 5, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I know, a 9 years-old?! I suspect foul play, myself. That professor looks kind of suspect. (kidding)

    I think you’re right on with what kind of water you’d use. And yeah, the removable tub is a tall order.

    With apologies to magnet schools everywhere, I think the Coriolis Effect is legit, but that it doesn’t affect the direction water spins down the drain.

  3. Posted January 5, 2009 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Should we assume also that one only uses food from plants (that is, not meat or dairy) in this sink?

  4. Posted January 5, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I’m guessing that you would let that water go down the drain. But FYI, some people do compost meat and cheese.

  5. Posted January 5, 2009 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    oh great post. im always so cross as sink disposals – rare here in oz, very common in the USA. love your blog, its been ‘awarded’!

  6. Posted January 5, 2009 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    My parents and my sister have these and I’m next (setting up my worm farm used up the $ I had available otherwise I would have bought a bucket too!). They really are a great solution, and so much nicer to have in the kitchen – I have always been turned off by gross sticky buckets in my parents’ sick, but now this is pretty clean to touch as the handles are kept out of the way of the bulk of the water flow and mess. The drain is the cleverest part – tipping a full bucket of water from the shower is always such a messy pain for me!

  7. Harry
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    The site doesn’t say how a compostable stream is distinguished from a non-compostable stream. To put it differently, how do I send the output of my garbage disposal to the compost pile, but keep the soapy water (we hand wash) out of it?

    What heaven it would be, to be able to grind up food scraps before composting them! Such a small pile it would make, how fast it would decompose.

    In the interests of reuse and being cheap, I experimented with a number of empty food containers before settling on a 1 qt sherbet container to use as a sink-side compost bucket. I don’t have to pay for it, I accumulate a half dozen of, it’s easy to wash, and is the right balance between not too big (or it gets icky) and not too small (so it needs to be taken out too often).

    Naomi: I use milk jugs for what my family calls “wait water.” Easy to move, doesn’t spill, contents can be saved for later without worrying that the cat will tip it over. But before you do that, have you built up your emergency water supply yet?

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