What to Do With Old Garbage Disposal? (And How You Can Recycle It)

Garbage disposal is indeed a handy tool. But having connected both the dishwasher and garbage disposal connected can be tough to manage. One small mistake, and your kitchen is full of unwanted trash.

Almost a century ago, the first garbage disposal was discovered by John W. Hammes, who was an architect at the time being. Although the tool came a long way ever since then, it is still used the traditional way.

But what to do with garbage disposal,  after it has served its purpose? For starters, you can always sell the disposal at any pawn shop, or even eBay. 

However, selling the garbage disposal will be pretty useless if it’s not working. But don’t worry you are in luck. This article covers everything you need to know about garbage disposals, and exactly what to do with them.

How To Replace A Garbage Disposal, ...
How To Replace A Garbage Disposal, Remove And Install

Let’s jump right into it.

How Do You Dispose Of A Garbage Disposal?

Before doing anything with your garbage disposal, the first thing you need to do is get rid of the trash. Sounds weird, right? Your garbage disposal requires to be emptied before it goes to recycling. 

The most effective way of evacuating garbage disposal is changing the plastic that holds the trash. If you don’t want to do that, you can also put inside peels of lemon and orange. That way, it will help some food not get stuck in the disposal, as well as, put out bad odor from the disposal.

While emptying or cleaning your garbage disposal, please keep a mental note to pick your garbage disposal once every two weeks.

For your better understanding, here are some things you should never consider putting down that end:

  • Grease

Grease is a thick lubricant that causes hefty problems if it’s in a garbage disposal. As grease is heavy in substance when it finds cool temperature it solidifies. 

Because of the solid structure, it goes all the way down to the disposal and blocks the way for other things to go out.

  • Fat

Fat is the second most dangerous thing that comes after grease for disposals. It also chills down when in a stable cool temperature. 

Thankfully, there is a way out of this. Although, a solidified fat will clog your garbage disposal too. But make sure the fat stays solid, that way it will take less hassle to get out.

  •  Eggshells

Did you know? Eggshells can help sharpen blades. Yes actual blades, and of course it’s a primitive myth.

Don’t put eggshells down the disposal, it will cause damage to the disposal by enveloping the “blades” of the eggshells with the blades of the disposal.

Not just this, the thin grey-white layer inside the eggshell can cause a clog to your disposal. Therefore, cause damage.

  • Hard and Dry Foods 

Hard foods like nuts, bones, peanuts, etc. are some foods that you should never put inside the disposal as it is very for the disposal blades to cut through. 

Dry foods that are expandable, for example, pasta, rice, wheat, etc. should not be put down in the garbage disposal. 

The reason is quite simple, the foods mentioned above are expandable in water. So when you put them inside the garbage disposal, they will expand. And this can lead to a potential clog in the disposal. 

15 Things You Should Never Put Down a Garbage Disposal

Here is a detailed brief video on some other foods you shouldn’t put down a garbage disposal.

What Is The Useful Life Of A Garbage Disposal?

Average garbage disposal has a lifespan of 10 years, approximately. After this period, most disposals start clogging and becoming unusable. But if you take care of the garbage disposal properly, the lifespan can extend up to 15 years!

The more you use your garbage disposal, the faster it will run out of use. But it was bought to serve purposes, so yikes.

However, a garbage disposal’s life also depends on what you put down there.  The above mentioned are a few of the many things that can cause harm to the disposal.

This means if you put stuff that is hard to cut more, then the shorter the lifespan of the disposal will be. Again, it’s up to you how long you want it to last.

Another case is that a low-quality garbage disposal’s lifespan is less of a high-quality one. ½ hp garbage disposals are recommended most for household uses. 

Average Garbage Disposal’s LifespanAverage Garbage Disposal’s lifespan If Maintained Properly
10 Years12-15 Years

The short table explains the differences between the life of garbage disposal, on average vs. if maintained with care.

Are You Supposed To Dump A Garbage Disposal?

To answer in short, yes. You are supposed to dump garbage disposal.

According to a study on BusinessWire, millions of house owners are not aware that garbage disposals can help reduce wastage.

Just like these people, there are many more people out there who are not conscious of this. This is why the world is losing over  $940 billion just for food wastage.  

Before you dump garbage disposal, make sure the disposal is emptied correctly. The following list is some ways to evacuate garbage disposal the proper way:

  • Clean The Drainpipe

If you use the garbage disposal often, then you most likely have a lot of stuff putting down there. This means while disposing of the disposal; you need to clean the drainpipe. To lookout for any clogging, we aren’t risking anything here!

  • Clear Out  Clogs Or Blockades

If you notice your disposal not working correctly, then it’s probably clogged or has any blockage. For this, you need to clean and any clogs or potential blockades you may find. 

  • Use Plungers For Big Clogs

If the clog is thick and is hard to clean out, use a plunger. Sometimes the clog can be deep down and hard to reach. That’s when a plunger comes in handy and helps to cleanse the big clogs quickly.

What To Do With Broken Garbage Disposal?

If your garbage disposal is broken and not fixable, the best option is to sell it at goodwill or craigslist. You can also donate your malfunctioning disposal to organizations.

Or you can recycle the garbage disposal as well, more on that later.

If your garbage disposal is not a total lost cause, then you can always call a plumber to fix it. Or best, if you are a pro, you can fix it yourself!

An average garbage disposal replacement cost ranges from about $150-$1000. Yep, you heard that right. And all of that can be changed if you do it yourself. 

If the breaker in the garbage disposal has not fallen out and the reset button of your disposal is not leaped out. Then it may be just a damaged unit or switch in your garbage disposal. 

To fix this, most people call the plumber and have to pay a lot. But some tools that you have lying at home, like screwdrivers, putty, epoxy, and some pliers, can do the plumber’s job. But again, you need to know what you’re doing, or else you’ll do more harm than any good.

Can I Throw Away A Garbage Disposal?

Yes, you can throw away garbage disposal. They can get dirty and unhygienic over time. 

The best way of throwing garbage disposal without causing any hazards is to put them in a sealed metal container with water inside it and take it to your local waste disposal centers.

How To Recycle Garbage Disposal?

Almost everything is recycle-able, and recycling is also the best way to reuse wastes. That way, you are not polluting the environment; neither are you just throwing the element for nothing.

You can take your garbage disposal and take it to recycle centers. That’s what most people do. 

Nevertheless, most people don’t know exactly what to do before recycling garbage disposal. 

Here are some ways you can get your garbage disposal ready for recycling:

  • Cut off the power cord from your garbage disposal; you can use pliers for this.
  • Get entrance to the motor of the garbage disposal. You can then check and see what the windings of the motor are made of.
  • Put apart the garbage disposal. This one will be the tricky part as the screws in garbage disposals are tight. Before you checked what the motor windings are made of. If it’s made out of copper, scrape it; if aluminum, there’s no need of scraping.
  • Lastly, sever the metal and plastic off the garbage disposal, and give the entire thing a nice wash. Your garbage disposal is now ready to be recycled!

Pro tip: you can sell the metal and plastic you separated from the disposal for quick cash.

Final Verdict

Nothing is easy. Household items as simple as a dishwasher can do so much. But taking proper care of it is necessary. If you don’t, your garbage disposal won’t get the life of 10 years. You should also avoid putting heavy materials or greasy foods, fats, nuts, etc., down there. You can dump or throw away garbage disposals, but you have to do it the right way. But the most effective option is to recycle it. Why not save the environment? Every little action matters.