Considering not installing a Garbage Disposer?

murphysfNovember 1, 2012


I currently have a garbage disposer attached to my kitchen sink. I will soon be upgrading the counter tops and installing a new sink.

While talking with a co worker today he mentioned that when he re did his kitchen he didn�t bother installing a garbage disposal.

So I am at a crossroads, which was should I go with my upgrade?

We compost everything possible. We have a bin on the kitchen counter and we buy the compostable small bags from Costco. When bags get full we put them in the freezer in the garage and then weekly put them into the large compost bin for our weekly garbage / recycling pickup. The waste company provides three big (wheels) bins, (garbage, compost, recycling)

I just called my wife and briefly mentioned to her to think about the idea of not having a garbage disposal, her first response was that we could do without one then she mentioned getting rid of soups that she makes would be a bit more difficult, she would have to filter them. This was just a brief 30 seconds phone conversation she will think about it more.

I actually purchase a garbage disposal (I can always return it) and was planning on putting on in, now I am thinking of going without it however I can go either way.

Just wondering what the pros and cons are that I might be missing


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Always better to HAVE than to HAVE NOT! Just my 2 cents! Just something to think about though...if you have to pay for water to use the disposal and how much that cost vs the inconvenience/cost of soup disposal.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 7:44AM
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I hardly ever intentionally "dispose" of anything in mine but it sure is nice to just wash the leftover bits from dirty dishes down the drain.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 8:06AM
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We keep a compost bin going, but some foods don't go into it - meats, fish, dairy - to avoid attracting wild critters. These foods can also make the compost very smelly. If we had a disposal, these would go into it. We don't have a disposal because we have a septic tank system so our meat etc. waste goes into the trash, heavily bagged.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 10:55AM
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You cant compost EVERYTHING and just washing dishes it is better to wash through a disposal than just down the drain to get plugged up. I would never be without a disposal.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 11:44AM
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Disposals aren't super expensive, so why not have one to use when and if you want to. Having one doesn't mean you have to use it all the time. I wouldn't be without one.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 1:23PM
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The last time I remodeled I took out the disposer, and never put one back in and don't miss it at all.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 1:34PM
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I put one in my first house because I liked the idea of what it could do. but then my nutty mother and sister were living there to after my parents divorce. they constantly has that thing jammed with a fork or god only knows. once one of them managed to grind a bar mop towel in it. how it made it through the disposal I can't say but it sure did clog the drain pipe. Of course they told me they never put anything other than food scraps in it. I knew that was a lie when I started pulling out white and blue cotton strands miles long and pack in out of the pipe. I don't miss having one but now that they are not around in this house I have thought about gettin one with my minor remodel but doubt I will. They are nice but a pain stupid or careless people in the house.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 6:14PM
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This is a perennial topic, and a search will fins lots of energetic pro and con arguments.

As I think I said on the last thread, after growing up with disposers, and having them in apartments for decades, we didn't use them in our remodel early this year and don't miss 'em. They're bulky, they're one more thing to service, and they are extremely hard to keep clean. Flies. Smells. Weird slimes.

Try taking a used one apart! They're disgusting. People may think they can keep their disposer clean, but that's because they can't see the inside of it.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 1:59AM
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I disagree with Colin3. If you get a disposal with a minimum of 3/4 hp, you should not have the problems Colin3 described. Check out the warranties on the 3/4 hp or 1 hp Insinkerators and Waste Kings - 8-year, 10-year in-home warranties, and even Lifetime (for the 1 hp Waste King). If you get a disposal with 3/4 hp or 1 hp, and all stainless grinders, you will not have need for service, and there will not be smells, cause everything will be ground into liquid and drained out. And certainly there will not be flies! If you have a good-quality disposal, and there are smells and flies, the issue is the plumbing, and plumbing venting, or perhaps the dishwasher is backwashing, but it's not the disposal.

And if you take one apart, it should look no different than the plumbing trap under your sink if you took that apart. Again, that is if you have a quality 3/4 or 1 hp disposer--not a low-end, builder's special, Badger-type.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 10:08AM
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Obviously you have the initial cost and at some point down the road you'll need a new one but beyond that, disposals don't have a lot of maintenance or operating costs.

If you go without one, I would suggest leaving the wiring in place so that if you change your mind down the road installing one will be easy.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 10:22AM
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We couldn't do without one. My advice is to install it, and if you choose not to use it, or, say, use it only at holidays when there is high-volume of food landing in the sink, at least you'd have the flexibility. Murphysf - you mentioned you've purchased the disposal already. Which one did you get?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 10:32AM
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I have had a garbage disposal in every house I have been in for 35+ years of renting/home ownership, the only one we have ever had die was at our current home and it was 28 years old when it died and not a very good one in the first place.
Replaced it with a 1hp InsinkErator Evolution Excel which comes with a 7 year warranty where if anything happens to it in 7 years they come out to the home and repair/replace it for free. A disposal is probably THE most reliable appliance in the home, I'am sure the next owners of this home wont have any problems for another 30+ years more than likely.

As for "flies" never had a disposal draw flies and don't see why they ever would unless you leave food just crammed down it but that has nothing to do with the disposal that it YOU.

"smells"? rarely if ever, I always let my disposal run for a minute or two with hot water running and I squirt a bit of dawn dishwashing liquid in it, foams up and cleans everything clean as a whistle, also I use fresh lemons a lot in cooking so about once a week or so I run a lemon peel through it, stays smelling fresh.

There really aren't any cons to a disposal.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 12:50PM
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There was a disposer in the first house I bought, already 7 to 8 years old. I rarely used it but of course the dishwasher and right-side sink bowl drained through it. Before long it corroded-out and spewed water under the sink. Took it out, did not get a replacement. Never missed it.

New house (9 months old at time of purchase, 8 years now) was supposed to have one, the wiring is in place, but the builder decided to not install. I am in fact happy it's missing.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 5:54PM
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My choice would likely be not to have one. My wife's choice is to have one in the prep sink, and another in the main/cleanup sink, so that is what we did.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 9:32PM
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As I said I like them but can live with out it. Having one with silly careless household members that will try to grind weird things that should not go in and are not careful with silverware is no fun. The stories of how they weren't to blame were interesting tho.

I had a Kenmore 3/4 HP i think and it never stunk, I used disposer magic or lemon peels to clean and freshen it.

part of me wants one again and the other that is likely to win says I have lived 6 years with out since I sold my first home that had it so I don't need it.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 11:38PM
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I'd vote for having one over not having one--even if you only use it during the holiday "high traffic" times, or to dispose of odd bits of things while scraping plates for the dishwasher. And, it's a good thing to have for resale, too.

We also have a 3/4 HP and no problems, no smell, no flies, no nothing. I could not say the same for the little cheap one I had in rentals when I was in college, so I'm inclined to agree with those who say more HP makes the difference.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 8:00AM
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Just a reminder to search on the topic as well as running this thread; the topic comes up frequently. This is a very personal decision, resale argument and plumber's opinions notwithstanding. I don't happen to have a disposal and don't for an instant miss or regret it. There's room beneath a sink to add one if someone wants to; why do I need to install an appliance I won't use with money I won't then have for someone whose shade doesn't even yet exist in my ken (some amorphous future buyer).

If you don't use a disposal, don't get yourself one!

YMMV of course. :)

Colin: just contemplating dismantling the thing is enough to turn my stomach. Yuckola. Yuck yuck yuck.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 2:29AM
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My first home was built in the 1950's and had a garburator... not sure if it was the original one but it still worked when we moved in. I loved it. We composted our table scrapes but it was very convenient to liquefy the bits that weren't scraped into the compost pail. Until... our pipe burst. All the food that I thought I was liquefying came out under our sub-floor in the basement.

Now, our current house that we recently moved into has a garburator that doesn't work at all. So occasionally we get this horrible sour smell that comes out of the thing.

I do miss my garburating days, but now that I know better I have to consider the environmental load caused by having one (e.g. wasting clean water, energy use, disposal load in treatment plants). Plus, the city where I live has banned their use... although you can still buy and install them.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 12:45AM
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