Don’t Grind Your Gears: 8 Things to Never Put in Your Apartment’s Garbage Disposal
Which appliance do you use habitually in your apartment? Is it the washing machine used to do a load of laundry twice a week? Or maybe the stovetop you cook dinner on every night? Chances are you thought about every appliance in your apartment except for the garbage disposal.
Not only is this grinding gadget one of the most commonly used appliances, but it is also one of the most frequent maintenance repairs requested by apartment renters. With the ability to quickly eradicate smelly scraps from the confines of a smaller space, garbage disposals are great for apartment renters. However, not all waste can be discarded equally. Prevent jammed motors, dull blades, clogged drains and costly repairs by keeping these items out of your apartment’s kitchen sink.
Fibrous Fruits and Vegetables
Banana peels, asparagus, corn husks, celery, potato skins and other stringy foods have a tendency to wrap around the motor of your disposal and get stuck. Instead of washing these items down your sink, start your own compost bin to eliminate landfill waste while making an all-natural fertilizer for your houseplants.
It’s a completely natural urge to brush spilt coffee grounds into the sink while brewing our morning joe. Because coffee grounds are notorious for clogging drains and causing blockage, it’s best to toss your grounds in the garbage or compost bin instead.
Contrary to the wise words of your grandmother, tossing eggs down your disposal can cause damage and does not help sharpen the disposal’s blades. Egg membrane sticks to grinders and eggshells have a tendency to linger around inside of the pipes.
Pasta, Rice and Oatmeal
When water is added to these foods, they swell. Avoid putting any expandable foods in your disposal as it increases the risk of clogged pipes.
Grease and Cooking Oils
Pouring bacon fat or coconut oil down the drain in a liquefied state can cause major buildup once it re-solidifies. It also greases the grinders, making the disposal too slick to do its job. Transfer all fats and oils into a resealable container, let them solidify and toss them in the trash. Reusable fats such as bacon grease can be stored in the fridge and used for cooking.
Fruit Pits or Seeds
A great maintenance tip to remember: if you can’t chop it with a knife, your garbage disposal will not be able to grind it up and flush waste through the pipes. Send avocado seeds, fruit pits, popcorn kernels and other seeds straight to the compost bin or you run the risk of clogged drains and broken blades.
Bones and Seafood Shells
At first, it might seem easiest to toss bones or shrimp shells down the drain. While some high-end disposals can handle bones, it significantly reduces its lifespan. Stay on the safe side and throw it in the trashcan or bury them in your composting pile.
Bleach, drain cleaners and other harsh household chemicals can actually corrode metal pipes and the grinders, causing serious long-term damage. Since garbage disposals are a hot spot for bacteria, grind a few lemon or orange slices to kill germs and freshen up the smell of your sink.
Check Out These Other Sustainable September 2019 Blog Posts:
- Read this Q&A with Greystar’s Senior Associate of Sustainability to find out about the benefits of green living.
- Here are ways you and your apartment neighbors can make your fashion choices green.
- From 11 eco-friendly kitchen products and green activities to kids, our blog has so many more offerings for Sustainable September. Here are all of our past articles, curated just for you.
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