If you’re ecologically-minded, you may question whether a garbage disposal is a necessary appliance in the kitchen. Why grind up food scraps when you can just toss them in the trash? Why use energy and water when you don’t have to?
The truth is more complicated than you’d think. Check out these three advantages of a garbage disposal.
Lacking a garbage disposal in your home, your options are twofold. You can compost your leftover vegetable matter, or you can dump it all in the trash.
Composting is a great idea, but not every apartment owner has a patch of yard to garden, and many dual-working homeowners don’t have the time to do it right.
Scraping the debris into the trash is the next option, but if you don’t remove your trash to an outside bin every night, your garbage will quickly start to smell. That smell may permeate the space and attract insects. If you do dump your trash outside, that pungent smell is likely to attract raccoons, who’ll hurl the contents willy-nilly just to get to the juicy bits.
As for raccoon-safe garbage cans, well, good luck with that.
Efficiency And Ease-Of-Use
Garbage disposals are installed under the sink, so they’re not taking up valuable counter space or within the line of sight. Using them involves nothing more complicated than a stream of water and a brief turn of a switch, probably less than (on average) once a day. All that’s needed to keep them smelling fresh and the blades sharp is baking soda, vinegar, and ice cubes.
If you’re worried about water or energy use, consider Energy Star rated high-efficiency units, which use less of both.
Better For The Environment
If you don’t have a garbage disposal and you don’t compost, then all that extra organic matter is headed toward a landfill. In landfills, bacteria break down organic material and release the byproducts into the environment. Among those byproducts is methane, which smells bad and adds carbon to the atmosphere.
A garbage disposal chops up vegetable matter into small pieces and sends it all to a wastewater treatment plant, where it is a large part of the sludge left after primary and secondary treatments. That sludge is stabilized into bio-solids and then composted or used as a natural fertilizer.
Garbage disposals accord one further advantage: By protecting your pipes from large plugs of organic matter, they reduce the probability that you’ll have a clog due to vegetable scraps. That might not save energy or water, but it’ll certainly save you time and money.