Garburators or food waste disposals are mounted in kitchen sinks as a convenient way to get rid of food scraps without throwing them in the garbage, but, is it a green option?
Of course, composting should be your first choice if the food scraps are compost compatible, but in reality that isn’t always an option for every person all the time.
The idea of sending food down the garburator, giving nutrients back to the oceans and feeding the fish is a novel idea, but that isn’t how it actually works after grinding up those scraps.
To start with food disposers run on electricity and you need to use a lot of water to flush those scraps down the sink without clogging the drains. Once it all has ‘vanished’ from your kitchen, it isn’t on it’s way to be devoured by sea life.
First, like all sewage waste, the food scraps have to be processed by the sewage treatment plant. Sewage treatment plants in most areas are already over-burdened with waste products sent down the drain and food scraps just add to that burden. In most cases, sewage treatment plants treat the sewage with chemicals and process the waste before it is released into the natural environment.
This process rids the food of any beneficial nutrients it had when you sent it down your sink, so the idea of it being returned to nature is false.
Garburators certainly have their place, but they shouldn’t be thought of as a green accessory. Your first choice, if the food waste will benefit your compost, is to compost it!
If your community doesn’t have a curbside pick-up for organics, the next best option may actually be to throw it in the garbage, however, foods have a tendency to make curbside trash especially smelly. Smelly garbages attract animals and this is especially bad if you live in an area with animals such as bears.
When it comes down to it, if you can’t compost it, you’ll have to weigh out the pros and cons. Do I garburate it or do I throw it in the trash? Just understand that just because you can’t see it any more doesn’t mean that it is done being processed.