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Lets Talk Trash The Dirt on Garbage Disposals

Lets Talk Trash The Dirt on Garbage Disposals
Lets Talk Trash The Dirt on Garbage Disposals

Lisa Hardy
Environmental Planner

Using a garbage disposal seems to make mealtime clean-up a lot easier, especially after those big holiday get-togethers. But this kitchen catch-all, the mother of all modern conveniences, can actually do more harm than good. The next time you “flip the switch” to make that mess magically disappear, think about where it’s all going and maybe then you’ll think twice.

It’s true, garbage disposals can break up nearly any organic material you put down them. But that’s all they do -- they break things apart into smaller pieces. The problem exists on the other side of the connection where food leaves the blades and enters your plumbing on its way to the sanitary sewer system. This system is designed to manage the flow of wastewater exiting your home, not the scraps and shreds of food leftover on your dinner plates. When these substances are washed down the drain, they cling to pipe walls building up over time, blocking the flow of wastewater. These blockages can lead to backups where raw sewage overflows into homes, onto streets, down storm drains, and into local waterways, posing a serious risk to public health.

What can you do?
The best way to protect your pipes and prevent costly blockages and backups is simply don’t use a garbage disposal at all. Always be mindful of what you wash down the drain and follow these simple rules to keep your pipes clear:

  • Do not feed the garbage disposal.
  • Use a basket strainer in your sink drain to catch any leftover food particles; throw the scraps collected into the trash or compost bin.
  • Thoroughly scrape plates into the trash before washing.
  • Wipe pots, pans, and cooking utensils with a paper towel prior to washing.
  • Never pour oil, drippings, sauces, or dressings down the drain. Absorb these substances with a paper towel and toss into the trash.
  • Pour used cooking grease into an empty, heat safe container like a soup can; freeze and toss it out with the garbage.


For more information on these and other ways to protect your pipes and prevent sanitary sewer overflows, please go to www.fatfreedrains.com.Opens in new window

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