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Garbage Disposal


We're moving to a house that has a septic system and heard that it is not good to use a garbage disposal since the septic is not designed to take the volume of waste.

1) Is this true (there are only two of us)?

2) Is a trash compactor a viable alternative (i.e. for all the food waste that would normally go into the garbage disposal)?


Art from PGH:

Regarding your first question, yes, you can use a garbage disposal when you have a septic system, HOWEVER, since you will be adding more solid waste to your septic system, you need to be VERY CAREFUL to check your septic tank level more often. As you probably know, if your septic tank fills up with solids, these solids can over-flow and go into your leeching pipes which will be very expensive to remedy if they become plugged. And since you are new to the house, you will not have history on how often you should have your septic tank pumped.

The other point about your garbage disposal, is that some towns and cities do not allow garbage disposals to be installed where there are septic systems. And since you are new to this house, if you want to be in compliance, this is something you may want to check.

Regarding your second question, yes, a trash compactor is a viable option. In general, trash compactors are considered good for the environment because they reduce the trash's volume by about 80%, so it takes up a lot less room in a landfill. However, a couple of thoughts about using a trash compactor for food waste. First, food waste will not compact down as much as other household garbage; and secondly, depending on how "green" you want to be, an alternative to a garbage disposal is to set up a compost system in your yard, which will naturally bio-degrate your food waste. If you are interested, here is a link to some instructions on how to set up a home compost pile:



Additional comment from "Art from PGH":

FYI - regarding the garbage disposal smell -- make sure to take out and thoroughly clean the rubber "funnel" that covers the opening (assuming it is removeable and you've disconnected the power), as well as the opening the "funnel" seats against. We had a friend who had this problem and when they removed the "funnel" they found about a 1/2 inch of gunk that had built up and smelled terrible. After cleaning the smell was gone!

Garbage Disposal