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

Almost a century ago, the first garbage disposal was discovered by John W. Hammes 1927, who was an architect at the time being. Although the tool has come a long way since then, it is still used traditionally in most households making garbage disposal an essential appliance in the kitchen that makes cleaning easy after meals.

But what to do with the garbage disposal after it has served its purpose? These units can wear out over time, become less efficient, or stop working altogether. Many people wonder what to do with their old garbage disposal when this happens.

Simply tossing it in the trash may seem like the most convenient option, but it’s not the best choice for the environment. Old garbage disposals contain various materials, such as metal and plastic, that can take a long time to decompose in landfills.

Another option is you can always sell the garbage disposal at any pawn shop or eBay. However, selling the garbage disposal will be useless if it’s not working. But don’t worry; you are in luck.

This article will discuss everything you need to know about old garbage disposals, the importance of recycling them and explore creative ways to repurpose them. Let’s jump right into it.

How Do You Dispose of a Garbage Disposal?

Before doing anything with your garbage disposal, you must eliminate 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 and put out foul odor from the garbage disposal.

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

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

Things should never go down the Garbage DisposalDescription
GreaseGrease is a thick lubricant that causes significant problems if it’s in a garbage disposal. As grease is heavy in substance, it solidifies when it finds a cool temperature.

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

Find the unclog methods for grease-clogged drains or garbage disposal; refer to the “How to Unclog Grease Clogged Drain” article.
FatFat is the second most dangerous thing to put after grease. 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 ensure the fat stays solid; that way, getting out will take less hassle.
 EggshellsDid you know? Eggshells can help sharpen blades. Of course, it’s a primitive myth.

Don’t put eggshells down the disposal, and it will cause damage to the garbage 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 You should never put hard foods like nuts, bones, peanuts, etc., 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 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. 

Here is a detailed video on other foods you shouldn’t put down on the 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 garbage 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. Those mentioned above are a few of the many things that can cause harm to garbage disposal.

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

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 unaware 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 to food wastage.  

Before you dump the 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, you most likely have a lot of stuff there. This means you need to clean the drainpipe while disposing of the garbage disposal. Look out for any clogging; we aren’t risking anything here!

  • Clear Out Clogs Or Blockades

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

  • Use Plungers For Big Clogs

Use a plunger if the clog is thick and hard to clean out. 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, there are a few options for what you can do with it:

Option 1: Repair the Garbage Disposal

If it is not too damaged, you can always call a professional to fix it, or best, if you are a pro, fix it yourself! It’s worth considering this option if the garbage disposal is relatively new or in good condition otherwise.

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

Most people call the plumber to fix this and have to pay a lot. But some tools 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 good.

Option 2: Replace the Garbage Disposal

Replacing it may be more cost-effective if it is too damaged to repair or is old and nearing the end of its lifespan. 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. 

You can purchase a new garbage disposal and install it yourself or hire a professional to do the job. Also, selling it at goodwill or Craigslist is best. You can also donate your malfunctioning disposal to organizations.

Option 3: Dispose of the Garbage Disposal

If you cannot repair the garbage disposal, you must dispose of it properly. Also, rather than disposing of nowhere, I think recycling the appliance is the best. It may not be the whole appliance, but some garbage disposal parts, such as metal.

It will be good for your wallet, also.

In the USA, many municipalities have specific rules and regulations for disposing large appliances like garbage disposals. So before disposing of it, follow the local waste management authority guidelines.

Option 4: Donate the Garbage Disposal

You can also donate your malfunctioning disposal to organizations.

Even if your old garbage disposal is still in good condition, but you don’t need it anymore, consider donating it to someone who accepts appliance donations.

This can be a great way to give back to your community and help someone in need.

Can I Throw Away a Garbage Disposal?

Yes, you can throw away garbage disposal. When they are out of time, do not work properly, cannot be fixed, and are unhygienic over time, you can replace the old garage disposal or recycle it.

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 recyclable, and recycling is the best way to reuse waste. 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 recycling 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:

  • Pliers can cut off the power cord from your garbage disposal.
  • Get entrance to the motor of the garbage disposal. You can then check and see what the motor’s windings are made of.
  • Put apart the garbage disposal. This one will be tricky, as the screws in garbage disposals are tight. Before you check what the motor windings are made of. If it’s made out of copper, scrape it; if aluminum, there’s no need for 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 a 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 must do it correctly. But the most effective option is to recycle it. Why not save the environment? Every little action matters.

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