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7 Reasons Not to Have a Garbage Disposal

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Garbage disposals are almost standard issue in new homes. People have grown accustomed to being able to throw nearly anything down the sink and grinding it up before it disappears into the plumbing.

They’re certainly convenient, but that doesn’t mean everyone should have one.

There are plenty of reasons not to have or get a garbage disposal.

If you’re upgrading your kitchen, garbage disposals can cost a lot of money. They’re also notorious for needing constant repairs and maintenance.

Garbage Disposal under the modern sink

Additionally, garbage disposals make it easier to toss food scraps down the sink, where they can cause problems in your plumbing.

If you’re on the fence about installing a garbage disposal, there are several reasons why you should avoid them. If you’ve never heard the other side of the argument on garbage disposals, here are seven reasons not to have one.

Garbage Disposals Cost a Lot of Money

Whether you’re installing it in your kitchen during a renovation or building a new home, a garbage disposal will cost you several hundred to thousands of dollars.

Depending on the configuration of your kitchen, what type of plumbing work needs to be done, and what model of disposal you choose, you could end up paying more than you expect.

woman holding a yellow folder with money and a calculator on the table

You can save money simply by making an effort to toss your food scraps into the trash or the compost heap rather than down the drain.

They’re Noisy!

Okay, so this may not be the main reason why you won’t want a garbage disposal, but hear us out. Using a garbage disposal is extremely noisy.

If you’re not the only person in the house, your garbage disposal can wake you up from a nap, interrupt an important work call, or drive your pets crazy.

woman at home covering ears ignoring annoying loud noise

They generate a lot of power, and that power equals a loud grumble through your house anytime you switch it on.

Garbage Disposals Can Be Dangerous

Modern garbage disposals are safe, but that doesn’t mean they are foolproof. For example, a small child or someone who absent-mindedly reaches into the disposal while it’s on to grab a fork or something can get seriously hurt.

woman washing her hands in a kitchen sink

Your garbage disposal grinds up food with sharp edges that move very quickly. If you get a finger or hand stuck in there, it can do some serious damage.

People go to the emergency room every year because they hurt themselves using their garbage disposal.

They Need Fixing

If you own a garbage disposal, you’ve likely had one or more calls to the local repair service for help. Garbage disposals are notoriously finicky.

If you get the wrong food items in there, like uncooked rice or an avocado seed, it can jam the disposal or damage components.

plumber laying under a house hold sink working on a garbage disposal.

Disposals are hard to diagnose and fix by yourself. When something goes wrong, it usually means paying a repair service to send a technician and talk to you about what is typically an expensive repair.

When you’re used to using the garbage disposal, it’s frustrating when it’s out of service. Skip the stress altogether, and don’t get one!

Not Everyone Knows How to Use Them

If you paid for your garbage disposal, you’re more likely to use it carefully and avoid putting anything into it that could hurt it. Unfortunately, garbage disposals aren’t invincible. Certain food items don’t belong.

As any parent will tell you, the kids won’t care as much as you do. It doesn’t matter how often you tell the kids what can and can’t go in the disposal; it’s probably in one ear and out the other, which means you’ll have to repair it more than you’d like.

It Can Damage Silverware

Have you ever dropped a fork or spoon into the garbage disposal? After just a few seconds, silverware will come out chipped and scratched.

That’s fine for throwaway items, but you’ll be angry if your disposal messes up a nice knife that you keep for when guests come over for dinner.

Pile of old scratched and dull flatware in need of polishing

The same goes for cooking utensils, mixer attachments, and anything else that can fit down your sink drain. You must always watch to ensure nothing goes into the disposal that shouldn’t.

They Smell Bad!

One of the main drawbacks of garbage disposals is that they smell bad. Sure, they’re good at grinding up food scraps, but not everything makes it down the drain. When food builds up and spends days in the disposal, it will start to smell bad.

girl holding her nose smelling something stink

The next time you’re at a friend’s house, give their garbage disposal a whiff and see how it smells. Homeowners are often constantly battling kitchen smells coming from disposal drains.

They pour dishwashing detergent down there, but it’s usually only a temporary fix. Anytime you’re flushing food scraps down the sink, a layer of grime will inevitably build up.

When your disposal starts to smell, it’s natural to try and flush the drain with a ton of water, which wastes water and pushes your monthly bill upward.

Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t solve the problem. You simply go round and round trying to find solutions before you call someone to come fix the drain.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

There’s a lot to love about garbage disposals. They make doing the dishes a lot easier. You can focus on cooking and not worry about where scraps go. You also aren’t constantly battling drain guards and trying to keep small food items out of your j-trap.

However, having a garbage disposal isn’t all roses. There are serious drawbacks to having a garbage disposal, and it’s another appliance in your kitchen that you’ll have to maintain.

Why not start a compost pile in your backyard instead? With compost, you can start a garden or fertilize your grass, instead of washing everything down the drain.

It can be a fun project for your family, and there’s a good chance you won’t miss the garbage disposal after a few weeks.

At the end of the day, it’s not a must-have. It’s only a nice-to-have. It’s easy to live without a disposal, and you may be glad you made the change.


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