Seattle Residential: I Do That: Rethink Your Sink

Rethink Your Sink

Rethink your Sink

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What is the value of a garbage disposer?


Due to Charles Buell's blog about anything contest I have given considerable thought over the past week to garbage disposers/disposals.  Times change and so too should the value we place on various things around the homes we live it. It hasn't been too long ago now that moving from 5 gallon per flush toilets to toilets that use only 1-2 gallons have become law in many cities.

In the 1970's I built a new home for my growing family. One of the must have items at the time was a garbage disposal. The reasons were valid. Some percentage of what would go into the garbage would end up in the sewage system. You didn't have to carry it out. Animals wouldn't get into it. And it was a convience that took us ever closer to the fully automated kitchen of the future. According to Wikipedia, in 2007 47% of homes had a disposer.

Times change. These days we are all about saving energy, saving water, and backyard gardening. The garbage disposal just doesn't fit in anymore.

garbage   Too much!

What are the strikes against a garbage disposal?

  • They take a lot of metal to manufacture a unit, therefore, energy wasted on a non-essential product.
  • You then have to buy one. Prices range from $80-319 at the local discount store.
  • You need an electrician and a plumber to install one.
  • One unit effectively takes up the entire space good for storing any number of otherthings under the sink.
  • Everytime you use it you are wasting water and electricity.
  • Everytime you use it you are creating noise pollution in your home.
  • Everytime it breaks you need to hire some to fix or replace it, or crawl under your sink and do it yourself.
  • If you have a septic system and drain field, you are sending mush into the system which will cause premature failure.
  • If you are on a city sewage system you are taxing the resources of that system in processing the waste water.

To me, the garbage disposal is all just money down the drain.
The alternative. In many cities the recycling of food waste is in full swing. In Seattle all of our food waste, including vegetable and meats, including bones and food-soiled paper go into a recycling container with yard waste, grass clippings, leave rakings, etc. The containers are made to discourage access by critters in serach of a meal and do a good job of containing the odors as well. This waste is picked up weekly and hauled to the big composting site somewhere in the county where the natrual process of turning this stuff back into dirt takes place. Eventually we buy back this compost to use in our yards and in our home gardens.

Just say no to buying outdated products for your home. Especially when the outcome is a little greener.





Glenn Roberts



Comment balloon 2 commentsGlenn Roberts • October 18 2010 03:12PM


Genn, you certainly have me on your side with this post----never owned one----never would :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 10 years ago

Charles - Now that's a point in your favor.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 10 years ago