Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Garbage Disposals


Recommended Posts

We want to replace our kitchen sink. The current sink has double bowls, with the left bowl being smaller and shallower than the large bowl. There is a garbage disposal attached to the smaller bowl which we disconnected. Why? We have a septic tank here and the previous owners of the home told us they never used the disposal unit to avoid overloading the septic system. They composted and so do we.

In terms of making changes that effect future resale values, do you think a disposal unit is necessary or not? We would like to remove the unit and replace the current sink with a deeper single bowl sink. What experience has anyone had using disposal units in conjunction with septic systems?

A lot of folks mentioned disposal units in the kitchen sink topic. Does everyone use theirs and do you care if your kitchen has one or not?

KathyM

Link to post
Share on other sites

I grew up with one, then I moved to Canada and our house didnt have one. I missed it a lot. My spouse would say " Oh, just throw that down the toilet".( most often, leftover food). Ick!!

We got one when we remodeled our kitchen in October and we LOVE IT!!! I'll never be without one again!!

Link to post
Share on other sites
In terms of making changes that effect future resale values, do you think a disposal unit is necessary or not? [...]  Does everyone use theirs and do you care if your kitchen has one or not?

I have lived places that had them, and lived places that didn't, and I vastly preferred the places that had them. That being said, when I am looking at houses to purchase, I don't check to see if there is a disposal unit. They run a few hundred bucks: hardly a deal-breaker. Though of course I have every intention of ripping out whatever kitchen the previous owners put in anyway: drives realtors nuts! "Oh yes, I care very much about the kitchen - I just don't care what's in it right now."

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Link to post
Share on other sites

If it's resale value you're worried about you can just install one -- even I can install one, and they're not expensive -- and not use it. And that way if you do mess up and spill stuff into the sink occasionally you can use it and not have to worry about the orzo you spilled clogging up the pipes (happened to me, once).

I hate not having a disposal, but I'll bet I'd hate screwing up a septic system even more.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the same direction as Charles's post, I'd urge you to make sure that if you "use it" you really use it. A year ago, while the in-laws were in town, we had a huge, fine Indonesian meal twice, once at the dining room table and then the next day backed up through our basement drains. The culprit was pretty obvious: instead of grinding stuff up when it went into the sink, it sat down there and some washed into the pipes. Let me tell you, cleaning up water dirty with lemon grass splinters, beef fat, and coconut oil really sucks.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to post
Share on other sites

As already mentioned, don't worry about the impact on resale value with a small item like this. Homes aren't shrines -- new owners love ripping ol' crap out. I know I do.

Regarding disposals in general, I've slowly come around to not liking them. They were in every house I lived in until I moved to N.Y.C., and I actually enjoyed the freedom of not being the designated disposal repairman!

When I moved back to L.A., I was re-exposed to them. But by then my habits had changed: leave a strainer in the sink, dump the accumulated mess at the end of the day or as necessary. No more reverse-cranking jammed disposals, no more slow-running drains, no more stink-hole. :laugh:

Now I just keep of few of these babies around and toss 'em in the dishwasher when they get grungy...

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My parents have a disposal unit. We never had one in the house I grew up in in Brooklyn. It works well for my folks as their trash can is very small and they have to go outside to dispose of their garbage. They use it all the time and other than the noise it makes, they haven't had any problems with it.

We had problems with the kitchen plumbing in our prior home and annual visits from Roto Rooter to clear out accumulated gunk. This was without a disposal unit and even after trying to carefully wipe off plates before rinsing them off and using the same drain screen. Thank goodness the current home is younger with better plumbing! Based on the responses so far, I think we'll get rid of it since we don't use it anyway. A monthly gallon of white vinegar left to sit in the pipes overnight seems to keep things happy.

KathyM

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty much the same opinion as Joe Blowe and use the same stainless strainer in the sink.

I haven't had a disposal since I moved out of my parents' house and don't see the need.

We just scrape or dump the food into a milk carton and then it goes into the compost bin the city picks up.

Now, a dish washer, that would be nice to have. Maybe one day when I grow up...

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Link to post
Share on other sites

As others have said, if you're looking at resale value, the absence or presence of one isn't going to make a whit of difference.

That said, when we remodeled our kitchen recently, one of my must-haves was a disposal--after having grown up with one but being without for a decade or so. I don't use it a lot, but it's so convenient when I wash out stuck-on food, or cleaning out those sundry bits of vegetables, or getting rid of soup or anything else with a high liquid component. A strainer is all well and good, but cleaning the strainer isn't all that fun either.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Grew up with a disposal. Have lived in apts without them and missed it. My current house had a septic system until a few years ago. We put the bulk of the waste in the garbage but at least you could rinse the dishes in the sink and not worry about food in the drain pipes. I would hate to not have one. I don't want to mess with sink strainers and pulling out food gunk. Kind of like living in the past.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What a divisive topic! We call them garburators - and I don't really care for them. I spent last week at a place with one and was reminded just how loud and unnecessary they really are. I understand the convenience in an urban setting, and hooking one up with a dishwater is pretty nice. But for me it's a misuse of electricity and deprives the compost bin.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

Link to post
Share on other sites

Halifax! I visited and was impressed with both the recycling effort and the pride everyone took in it. I thought, flying in, that the Halifax dump would be a good place to see bears. My cab driver proudly told me otherwise - he said they didn't send food to their dump. My hotel room even had bags for recycling. Very cool.

However, I live in condo-world in southern California, and would probably be reported and fined by my condo association if I tried to compost. Don't have a yard anyway...so yeah, I love my garbage disposal.

Link to post
Share on other sites
In the same direction as Charles's post, I'd urge you to make sure that if you "use it" you really use it. A year ago, while the in-laws were in town, we had a huge, fine Indonesian meal twice, once at the dining room table and then the next day backed up through our basement drains. The culprit was pretty obvious: instead of grinding stuff up when it went into the sink, it sat down there and some washed into the pipes. Let me tell you, cleaning up water dirty with lemon grass splinters, beef fat, and coconut oil really sucks.

Chris, what happened? Did your disposal fail, or did you fail to use it?

I haven't had one for a while but loved them when I did--no composting when you live in condos or city apartments.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, what I wouldn't do for a food disposal. No matter how good you are at keeping food from going down the drain, some will inevitably get through and it would just make life so much easier and less disgusting to be able to turn on the disposal when the sink plugs up. My house has the original 1940s kitchen with a great deep farmer's sink, but unfortunately it's too deep (according to the plumber) to accommodate a disposal, and you need a disposal for a dish washer. The sink width isn't a standard size either, so taking out the sink would mean redoing the countertop. I had thought that when we bought this house that adding a disposal and dishwasher would be fairly easy, but no, a pretty extensive renovation would be needed. It would have to be a pretty great deal I was getting on a house for me to buy again without a disposal already installed. While the appliance itself is a cheap add-on, there is a lot to preparing the kitchen for it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've grown to loathe garbage disposals. Every place I've lived that had one, I had to constantly remember all the food items you didn't dare use it on because they would jam it up--essentially, anything fibrous, which is in effect most vegetable scraps and trimmings. It seemed like the types of food you could safely run through the disposal were so few, that I couldn't see what the point was in having one just for that small percentage of stuff. Maybe none of the disposals I've worked with have been good ones--but that's a whole lotta bad ones I've met instead. So at this point, I'd rather not ever take a risk on a garbage disposal ever ever again.

Link to post
Share on other sites
[...]

However, I live in condo-world in southern California, and would probably be reported and fined by my condo association if I tried to compost. Don't have a yard anyway...so yeah, I love my garbage disposal.

Hey, well, the city of San Francisco, much closer to you than Halifax, has quite a nice composting and recycling program...

Compost and Green Waste Recycling Program

More than 1,800 San Francisco restaurants and other food-related businesses are providing food scraps and other compostable material to San Francisco's food scrap compost program. These food scraps are made into a nitrogen rich compost and used by vineyards in the heart of California's wine country, including Napa, Sonoma, El Dorado and Mendocino counties. These vineyards are making delicious wines that are being sold in San Francisco's restaurants.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Link to post
Share on other sites

yes, yes, the chickens love scraps. We keep a little dish on the counter and drop all the veg trimmings and toast crust and half eaten lunch right in for our girls. They really love pancakes!

I haven't had a disposal or a dishwasher in nearly 20 years. I realized recently that I can't even load a dishwasher properly anymore. Living without really doesn't bug me.

Plus, didn't I read somewhere that ground up food is quite bad for our water systems?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't understand how composting really solves the problem. I compost, but that's for fruit and vegetable material only, and before it's been cooked with fats, animal products, pasta, etc. You can't (or shouldn't, unless you have an extremely hot pile) compost that stuff. Plate scrapings do not go in my compost, no way.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Garbage disposals in the sink are very rare in Japan. Almost every kitchen sink has a very wide drain, into which a plastic or copper basket is inserted. Often a nylon net is put over this, to make cleaning easier - fine food waste is trapped in the net, and can be tossed into the garbage instead of going into the waste water. The whole thing is covered with either a rubber lid (which allows spoons to get into the trap undetected) or a coarse wire mesh "lid".

Japanese sink with drain cover, filter basket, and rubber "lid"

The drawback, as you can see from the photo on the left, is that they can get pretty vile to clean out. The web page is actually about the "correct" way to clean your kitchen sink garbage trap to look like the photo on the right!

The good point is that they are incredibly low-tech.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I never lived in a house without one until we moved to the boonies of far South Georgia... A disposal if one of the VERY few items NOT ALLOWED here, where we have a septic system. I've lived in houses with disposals and septic systems and never had a problem. But, I only used the disposal to deal with the little dregs of stuff... not big hunks of anything.

But, we've had huge issues with our septic system here... We've had it cleaned/pumped/etc... and still it "glugs" when we do laundry after a hard rain. I think it has to do with the dense red clay here.

So, we do all we can to go easy on our temperamental plumbing. No disposal.

Pam

Link to post
Share on other sites

We have two sinks both with disposals in our kitchen. We almost never use them and , truth be told, when we do it is of sheer laziness.

In Seattle there is a recycle program that is quite liberal in its wants. It allows us to recycle most everything from our kitchen, so long as we do it right. The rules are quite reasonable though. Even I can, most times, get it right.

Our veggie stuff goes with our fall leaves and spring grass clippings to be what is called, compost. It ain't the best for your veggie garden but it sure is good for most other things.

The best part is almost everybody that bothers to send to the composting system takes away less than they contribute so the rest of us pay nearly nothing for the plenty they provide.

I have read a number for the water usage per pound of disposal waste and, while I do not remember the gallons per pound, it is WOW, huge.

Small containers to use as "garbage bowls" are simple and cheap, Why would anyone need to use a disposal?

I have sold a bunch of buildings that have no disposals, none of which were slum buildings, no one has looked.

Edited by RobertCollins (log)

Robert

Seattle

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...