Pros and Cons of Having a Garbage Disposal In Your Kitchen

How to Use a Garbage Disposal?

So many homes come with a garbage disposal pre-installed in the kitchen sink. However, few of us ever really stop to consider if our lifestyle or household needs really require one at all. It is an assumed necessity that many persons simply never realize they may not need. Those making decisions when remodeling a kitchen or building a home often install a garbage disposal without thought to whether or not they actually need it, or if the benefits of garbage disposal presented to homeowners is actually outweigh the negative aspects of having a garbage disposal. Let’s take a look at why the choice to install or not to install a garbage disposal matters. After that, we will discuss the various pros and cons of owning a garbage disposal versus alternative options.

Do You Need A Garbage Disposal?

Here are what you have to consider before installing a disposal:

Possibly increase in water pollution

The primary purpose of a garbage disposal is to process soft food waste so that it can be washed down the drain pipe and into the sewer, eventually flowing back into the water table. For the ecologically conscious consumer, this presents a bit of a dilemma: given the number of chemical additives, pesticides, and even hormones injected into our food during mass production, every leftover meal or food item we wash down the drain and process with a garbage disposal is further contaminating the potable water in the area. While it may seem like a minor issue, over time the massive amount of food washed down the drainpipe does constitute a rather large amount of water pollution.

You Waste Treatment System

If you have a septic system in your house, you will need to consider if it is worth to have a garbage disposal. Is it Safe to Use a Garbage Disposal With a Septic Tank? Yes, it is. However, to maintain a disposal properly, you will have to drain it and clean it out more frequently to prevent waste from clogging your garbage disposal and septic system. Alternatively, you can consider to buy a garbage disposal designed to be used with a septic system such as InSinkErator Evolution Septic Assist 3/4 HP Garbage Disposer.

Cost and Energy Use

Running the garbage disposal to get rid of uneaten food after every meal consumes electricity, adding to the energy costs in your home and also using additional water that would remain unused otherwise. If you don’t really have much food waste, what is the point of using a disposal? For smaller households or individual dwellings, a garbage disposal may just not be necessary.

Waste Management Alternative

Finally, you need to consider your alternatives to a garbage disposal: do you really need to wash scraps down the sink, or would you be able to make better use of that organic matter by donating it as compost? Instead of tossing your food waste in a landfill, or adding to the ever rising chemical additive/pollution content of the water table, could you be putting that waste to better use?

With all of these factors, you will be able to decide if you need a garbage disposal in your household. These will also help you understand your need for a garbage disposal and find the best garbage disposal for your need.


What Alternatives Are Out There?

Sink Strainers

Rather than go to the expense of installing and periodically maintaining a garbage disposal, some households instead use a waste strainer in their sink. This allows water to drain easily without garbage clogging the drain pipe or grease trap. All you have to do when you are done is lift the strainer out of the sink and dump it in the garbage or into your compost pile or composting box.

Composting Food Waste

Speaking of composting, many households who keep vegetable gardens often use their food waste to create compost, or nutrient rich soil derived from table scraps and other garbage. Egg shells, coffee grounds, vegetable peelings, grass clippings, and all manner of other food waste that might otherwise go down the garbage disposal can be tossed onto the compost pile or into a composting box to break down naturally and fertilize new plants that can feed you and your household. It not only negates the water and electrical use for a garbage disposal, but actually allows you to recycle your uneaten food into new healthy and delicious fresh food.


Pros and Cons of Having a Garbage Disposal 

The Upside of Owning a Garbage Disposal

Here just a few of the many advantages of owning a garbage disposal if your household tends to generate a large amount of soft food waste that needs to be liquefied regularly


It is much faster to dump remaining food down the drain and grind it up when washing the dishes after a family dinner.

More Eco-Friendly

Scraping trash into the garbage and hauling it outside for trash pickup, where it eventually makes its way to a landfill where it won’t do anyone much good.

Quiet Operation

The majority of garbage disposals built in the last decade are extremely quiet, and generate little to no noise when grinding up food waste. This makes them a far more attractive option than the general perception of noisy electric garbage disposals of the past. The quietest disposal on the market is InSinkErator Evolution Excel 1.0 HP Household Garbage Disposer. It is more expensive than most disposals but it is worth the money. If you look for a cheaper option, Waste King A1SPC Knight 1.0 Horsepower Garbage Disposal comes with the insulated stainless steel grinding components, so you’ll get the quietest grind possible. Both are famous garbage disposal brands which offer years of warranty. They also have many service centers available to take care of your disposal when it needs to be fixed.



The Drawbacks of Owning a Garbage Disposal

Additional Cost

Depending on the features capabilities you are looking for, a garbage disposal can cost anywhere from $100-300 unless you have a small household. The higher volume food waste you have in your household, the larger size of garbage disposal you will need. You will also have to pay for professional installation if you aren’t into DIY.

Related: What Size Garbage Disposal Do I Need?


Potential for Breakdowns/Maintenance Costs

As with any kitchen appliance, you will need to invest time and attention to keep your garbage disposal in good working order with proper maintenance and making sure you don’t feed it anything it can’t handle. If you don’t, you will be paying a lot more money to fix what will inevitably go wrong.

Increased Risk of Clogging

If your disposal isn’t grinding food effectively, it can allow larger chunks of food and waste to get trapped further down the drain pipe, backing up your sink and causing further expensive plumbing issues,



Overall, your needs for food waste disposal in your household determine whether or not you need a garbage disposal. Think it over, and decide based on how often you plan to make this useful appliance part of your daily life.

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