We produce tons of waste every year – Have you ever thought about where it all goes?
Thankfully, we have come a long way in regards to recycling and disposing of our waste appropriately. Advanced waste disposal methods provide a variety of solutions aimed at getting rid of all types of garbage. However, a few of these options pose risks to the environment.
In this article, we will discuss the variety of available ways to dispose of waste – making your life easier. In addition, we will go over the eco-friendly approach to eliminating food waste that, in turn, helps reduce the emission of toxic gas – leading to a healthier planet with less pollution.
We begin by reflecting on a few modern waste disposal methods that are currently in practice.
The trash you throw away is recycled – which is something that benefits the environment and the economy.
The most common recyclable materials are glass, paper, plastic, and aluminum. The use of recycling bins is becoming increasingly popular in homes, workplaces and public spaces to collect all recyclable items.
The process involves putrefaction of organic wastes by microbes as the residue remains accumulated in a pit for prolonged time periods. This rich compost, filled with nutrients, is then used for multiple purposes as well as plant manure.
But the procedure consumes a significant amount of land and time. Nevertheless, this biological reprocessing terrifically enhances the fertility of the soil.
The method revolves around the dumping of wastes into a dump which is a space structured into or on top of the ground. Garbage is isolated from groundwater and other external elements such as rain or air.
That isolation happens with a bottom liner along with a daily covering of soil. A sanitary landfill utilizes a clay liner for isolating the trash from the surroundings. A municipal solid waste landfill makes use of a plastic liner to accomplish the same.
A landfill buries the trash in such a way that it does not decompose much. This method is the opposite of compost, where the purpose of hiding the garbage is to decompose it quickly. However, it requires adequate skilled workforce to sustain sanitary landfills.
Building landfills and taking care of trash are local government responsibilities in the U.S. An environmental impact study has to be done before proposing a dump on a site. Once the impact study completes, you must obtain permits from federal, state and local governments.
Garbage Disposal Units
One of the most commonly used disposal methods that are popular among homeowners is using a garbage disposal unit. Without a doubt, this is the environmentally friendly way to dispose of your food waste.
Regular operation requires just around 50 cents per year. Another great feature of the unit is that it uses little water. Moreover, the use of garbage disposals ensures a reduction in the amount of food waste that goes into landfills, leading to the emission of methane gas.
When you operate the in-sink garbage disposal unit, the waste quickly makes its way through the sewerage system for safe treatment at the water plant. After that waste recycles – it becomes 70% water. Hence, garbage disposals offer one of the most eco-friendly ways to get rid of your food waste.
What Is A Garbage Disposal Unit?
Typically, a family has a tremendous amount of garbage that requires adequate disposal. It is natural to search for suitable methods to eliminate the need for stacking garbage bags and trash cans.
That is where a garbage disposal unit comes to the rescue. A household disposal unit perfectly fits below a kitchen sink to grind food waste into tiny bits. This shredded garbage is then passed through the plumbing into drains to maintain a smooth flow.
Today, we mostly depend on disposal to manage our food waste. Invented by John Hammes in 1927, the device has remained consistent in its design. However, technology and remodeling services eventually led to the incorporation of several features for adding safety and ease of use.
The food scraps go through a municipal treatment system which removes bio-solids to convert them into fertilizers.
Our kitchen is often the biggest food waste producer and collects fruit and vegetable peelings or leftover food. That’s why garbage disposal units are installed under the kitchen sink to significantly cut down the trash you would otherwise have to carry to the garbage can.
All garbage disposal products are available in various specs and boast several upgraded features. Most items are categorized by how they are installed, operated and regarding the power the units offer to grind food waste.
By purchasing the best garbage disposal unit, you can create less garbage. Without a doubt, these units offer incredible convenience to reduce the number of plastics landing into landfills and protect the environment by reducing the carbon footprint.
Moreover, you don’t have to scrape leftovers from your dishes that remain in your outdoor bins to attract pests and animals. Reduced food waste also keeps the money you have to spend on your monthly garbage bags.
How Does A Garbage Disposal Unit Work?
The disposal breaks down food scraps that you feed down the drain along with heavy water flow. The unit is mounted underneath the sink drain and features an electric motor which is plugged into a 120-volt box or hardwired, commonly situated at the back of the sink cabinet.
A grinding chamber is inside the garbage disposal unit that has sharp components for disintegrating the food waste. A plate and an impeller arm push the liquid and particles down the drain as the dishwasher drain water runs through the unit for grinding all large particles before reaching the drain pipe.
There are two main types of garbage disposal units available on the market. You can decide on a model according to your lifestyle and kitchen needs.
2 Main Types of Garbage Disposal Units:
- Batch-Feed: These disposal units activate by turning a stopper once you load all the garbage
- Continuous- feed: These types of groups are activated by a switch as you run water through the disposals
Batch Feed Disposals vs Continuous Feed Garbage Disposals: Picking the Right One For You
Continuous-feed models are usually cheaper, highly efficient, and can be very easy to install in your kitchen if you already have a wall switch or electrical switches under your sink drain. In addition to this, continuous-feed models are always readily available in nearby retail stores and hardware stores.
The unique features of these units make them ideal for people on a budget or those who need to handle a larger amount of kitchen waste. It’ll get all that food waste to your designated household hazardous waste collection center fast.
On the other hand, securing a batch feed garbage disposal can be cost-intensive and difficult because not many retail stores carry them. And while you don’t need a wall switch power supply under your sink to put this unit in place, you should know that it works a little slower than continuous-feed garbage disposals.
Because these units utilize less water and electricity, they’re perfect for environmentally conscious households. The presence of a stopper also means that they’re the recommended choice for people who have kids in the house.
The key difference between a batch feed garbage disposal and a continuous feed unit is functionality. Either option will give you proper disposal of your kitchen waste but, depending on your preference and current kitchen situation, one unit may serve you better than the other.
Most of today’s advanced products fit the conventional drain outlet. You can decide the distance of the switch from the sink according to local safety codes.
Contrary to popular belief, the unit does not work like a regular blender. Instead of spinning blades to chop and break down the waste, garbage disposal works with impellers. These lugs which are mounted on a spinning plate make use of centrifugal force to force food waste particles against a motionless grind ring constantly.
The ground ring splits down your leftover food to virtually liquefy the waste. Once grounded, the particles are flushed out through the grinding ring by running water and eventually go into your waste water pipe.
Advantages Of Using Garbage Disposal Units Vs. Landfills
Are you looking for an environmentally friendly way to dispose of your food waste? Although garbage disposal may not be engineered to take care of items such as banana peels and leftover pasta, it continues to serve as an eco-friendly method of discarding your food waste.
Research findings reveal that putting food waste into a garbage disposal system has lower global warming potential than thrashing it into a landfill.
By installing a garbage disposer in your home, you are fighting against global warming by doing well to the environment. Almost 80% of sewage works presently utilize anaerobic digestion for generating power for the grid. Methane is 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide and causes irreversible damage to the environment.
Here are a few reasons why garbage disposal units are better options for disposing of food waste.
- You are also using lesser paper or plastic to discard your food trash
- Rotten food scraps also invite pests and animals including rats and insects
- Less waste food to landfill minimizes the production of methane which is a greenhouse gas that’s detrimental to the environment
- All water waste from your kitchen sink went to wastewater treatment plant and recycled into fertilizers and energy sources
- Food trash sitting outside your home in bins and trash bags decompose and lead to bacteria formation
- You successfully reduce greenhouse gases emitted by waste management trucks that carry food waste to the landfill
Landfills do not break down food waste but are for storing it. Food waste in a landfill does not decompose and remains in an oxygen-free and closed environment. This lack of oxygen gives birth to bacteria that produce methane. This highly flammable gas contributes to global warming and poisons our breathing atmosphere.
That’s why these units are better options for taking care of food waste quickly and efficiently. You don’t need to collect and store your food waste that goes to a landfill and destroys the environment. Moreover, the hygienic process allows you to maintain a fresh and clean situation at home.
Are Garbage Disposal Units Dangerous?
That is one of the most common questions people usually ask before purchasing a garbage disposal unit. Horror movie buffs are likely to be intimidated by a sharp disposal unit that ferociously cuts finger-tips and nails.
However, the accessories are not as dangerous as they seem in movies. Most units and equipped with safe to use features and do not pose any risks to the users. However, you may need to be careful if you are purchasing continuous feed disposal when you have young children at home.
Follow the instructions that every manufacturer offers a robust garbage disposal system. By taking the recommended precautions, you can safely use the item without experiencing any accidents.
Do’s And Don’ts Of Using A Garbage Disposal Unit
- run a full stream of cold water before and during operation
- put soft food items
- check for maintenance or repairs to avoid leakage
- put your hand in the disposal
- pour bleach in the sink
- overfill a disposal
- leave dish rags in your pan
- turn off the unit when it is in use
- put waste like potato or banana peels, grease, egg shells and corn husks
How To Install A Garbage Disposal Unit?
A reliable garbage disposal unit is engineered to sustain almost 12 years of use. The handy accessory offers a trouble-free operation unless you don’t damage its parts by putting fibrous food waste into it. Moreover, regular maintenance and repair are crucial for determining faults including a leakage.
When you are installing a unit for the first time, you need to possess basic plumbing and wiring skills. Don’t try it yourself if you do not have enough skills to install an advanced garbage disposal unit. Read our article here to learn more about how to remove a garbage disposal.
Most buildings codes require a dedicated 120 volt and a 20 amp outlet beneath the sink in proximity to the unit. You will need to control the outlet by a switch that is reachable when you are standing at the sink. The chances are that this circuit is already present in your kitchen. However, you must get it installed if you want to install new disposal.
Although most units are tested to last for prolonged use, there comes a time when you have to replace the unit. If you find replacing a failed unit a challenging job, make sure you seek help from professionals to do the job. Since there is the usual fear of water and electricity, the unfamiliar sink connection and drain fittings can cause you to make costly installation errors.
How Do Garbage Disposals Get Clogged?
You can quickly tell whether your unit is clogged or jammed. When the motor hums but there is no grinding operation, your disposal may be clogged. In most cases, the group drains, and users can feel the cutters on the impeller pivot, even when it is jammed.
One of the most common culprits behind clogged disposal is a fruit pit that’s stuck between the drain hole and the impeller. You can burn out the motor if you continue running the disposal in a clogged or jammed state.
Make sure you unplug the device or switch off the electrical circuit that powers the disposal before you probe into it to find faults. You will most probably need to replace the disposal if its motor has burned out.
However, if you have been guilty of putting something in the disposal that you shouldn’t have like glass, rubber, metal or fibrous food waste, then you may have to pull it out by using pliers or tongs. We strongly recommend you to avoid using your hands, even when the unit is switched off.
How To Unclog A Garbage Disposal Unit?
The process is a lot easier than you think. With the help of a few necessary tools, you can unclog a unit to make it work again.
- Allen wrench
- Adjustable pliers
Here are a few simple guidelines to unclog your disposal:
- Detect the clog
- Once you identify it, examine it and use tongs to extract the object
- Turn off the motor to clear the jam
- Reset the engine
- Reset the engine
- Disconnect and loosen the pipes
- Drain out the liquid in the tube and collect it in a bucket
- Remove the clog and reconnect the pipes
Other Common Garbage Disposal Problems
Regardless of what common type of disposal unit you get, some other issues you may experience with these devices range from leaky garbage disposal to guttural noises and jamming.
If you have a leaky unit on your hands, a little troubleshooting and doing things like properly connecting the dishwasher hose to the unit and adjusting the mounting of the system can fix it.
Where jamming and guttural noises are concerned, this may be because utensils, especially tough food waste or even actual garbage have somehow found their way into the crevices of the impeller plate.
Once you’ve turned off the disposal unit and disconnected the plug from the power supply, you can use a torch to look into the drain to see what could be wrong. If you find the culprit, you can use needle-nose pliers to fish it out.
Cleaning And Maintaining The Garbage Disposal
Today’s garbage disposal products are engineered with the best of premium quality materials and are resistant to corrosion. However, like any other kitchen appliance, these units require frequent maintenance checks and timely repairs to deliver unbeatable performance. Another factor that affects how often you need to perform maintenance checks, is the material of which your disposal is made up of. For example, less maintenance may be required for stainless steel disposals vs. typical grade steel.
Here are a few tips for taking care of your garbage disposal system:
Tip #1 – Use Cold Water
Always run cold through the unit for at least 20-30 seconds before and after the operation. That guarantees that all food goes down the drain and you won’t have any decaying scraps sitting at the bottom, making your sink and kitchen sink.
Tip #2 – Discard Only Soft Foods
Interestingly, your disposal is best consuming soft and mushy foods that your baby likes to eat. Don’t put anything down the drain that your little one finds hard to digest like fibrous foods and pasta.
Tip #3 – Put A Little Dish Soap
A dish soap helps to keep the disposal clean. Just pour a bit in and turn on the unit while running cold water through it. The allocation remains bacteria free and maintains a fresh kitchen atmosphere.
Tip #4 – Throw In A Few Ice Cubes
Ice cubes do a great job of knocking off any food residue that accumulates within the disposal and its components. You can boost this effect by using ice cubes made out of vinegar and lemon juice or a safe, biodegradable cleanser. Don’t forget to label your ice trays in case your children end up mixing them to mess up your cocktails and drinks.
You can use ice cubes whenever there is a severe smell coming out of your kitchen sink. Not only it removes gunk from the walls o your disposal; it is one of the most economical ways to maintain expensive disposition.
Tip #5 – Sprinkle Vinegar And Baking Soda
Another efficient way for deodorizing and cleaning the unit is to sprinkle some baking soda into your kitchen sink. Rinse it with a cup of vinegar that leads to a bubbly clean-up. Allow the mixture to sit for not more than 5 minutes. Rinse it thoroughly by running hot water down the unit.
List Of Items You Should Never Put In A Garbage Disposal
Here are a few items that you must never expose to your garbage disposal, no matter how efficient and robust it is.
- Paper, plastic, glass, metal
- Cigarette butts and banana peels
- Fat, oil or grease (including cheese and meat fat)
- Starchy, stringy and fibrous vegetables (including artichokes, potato/onion skins, corn husks, celery)
- Rice, pasta or any food that expands when heated
- Seeds, pits, and bones (although a few potent disposals are engineered to process small chicken and fish bones)
- Large amounts of food waste that may lead to a clog
How To Invest In The Right Garbage Disposal Unit
There are plenty of mediocre products out in the market. However, when you invest in a reliable garbage disposal unit that comes with a warranty and clear instructions, you ensure safe and trouble-free operation. The best garbage disposal products offer durability and efficiency to take care of your food waste in no time.
There are a few features to consider when buying the right garbage disposal unit for your needs. Sound baffles reduce the decibel level whereas the anti-splash baffles keep your sink cleaner.
Apart from other features like noise level and a manual reset button, a functional unit offers maximum protection against corrosion to provide lasting performance. A few other features to look for in a product include blade-oscillating or auto-reverse features, stainless steel grinders, a safety cover, a removable splash guard and anti-bacterial features.
Additional Features to Keep an Eye Out For
If you’re going to choose a garbage disposal system over compost bins or the compost pile, you might as well get full value for your money.
So, in addition to key markers like a safety cover plate and a corrosion-resistant grind chamber wall build and septic systems, any basic model you intend to purchase should also come with pre-installed power cords, an EZ or Quick-mount feature to facilitate DIY installation a lengthy warranty so you won’t have to worry about the product quitting on you suddenly.
These features won’t only ensure the proper disposal of all kitchen waste (no yard waste or biomedical waste) but it’ll also relieve some of the cost of getting this unit.
Today, everyone is in need of a robust garbage disposal system to take care of food waste in a hygienic manner. Not only these accessories eliminate the need for piling up trash bags, but the units also keep your breathing air fresh and contribute to protecting the environment.
Just drop the food waste down the drain and forget about it. As long as you are not putting in anything that disrupts the working mechanism of the garbage disposal, you can enjoy a glitch-free operation for durable performance.
Look for a strong motor that is capable of handling your food waste. It is common for users to take this kitchen appliance for granted. However, once you learn to maintain it by doing frequent checks and repairs, garbage disposal offers tremendous benefits to ease your life.
So, if you’re looking for a reliable, feature-packed and budget-friendly product, our comprehensive buying guide provides sufficient information on how to choose the right garbage disposal that fits your budget.