Water savings is a significant and indirect benefit of this project.
1) The Garbage Disposal. The garbage disposal might begin an overdue journey to history. Garbage disposals offer many adverse impacts including an estimated 700 gallons per year to process food waste. By shifting away from the disposal to a collection of food waste we avoid the use of water. How much? Presuming Palo Alto's 23,000 dwelling units, we would save 16,000,000 gallons per year -- or 50 acre feet per year of water.
2) The Use of Finished Compost as a Mulch. When locally produced the compost would be locally available and distributable as a mulch. The Santa Clara Valley Water District estimates mulching saves 10 to 15 percent on outdoor landscape water. If an average home in California uses 160,000 gallons per year of which 110,000 gallons a year is for outdoor use. Palo Alto's usage is likely lower, but a potential exists for 10,000 gallons for each household per year savings. Presuming the 23,000 dwelling units and 10,000 gallons per year savings, we are at 230,000,000 gallons or 700 acre feet per year of water.
Delivering on this will take time, but completing this project locally establishes a new platform to drive down municipal water use.
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