Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Down the Drain- the evils of Garbage Disposals

I grew up in the country without the luxury of a sink garbage disposal. When I bought my first house, it had a disposal, which I was quite proud of. I remember the first time my parents came to visit. They were enthralled with all the scraps that could just go into the sink rather than a smelly bucket under the sink. “Can this go down there?” they inquired about the corn cobs...... I guess there is something fascinating about a machine that will take in scraps, grind them to smithereens and makes them magically disappear.

Only problem is that they don’t just magically disappear. It takes a good deal of running water to wash the ground scraps away and it taxes the city sewer system. The city Raleigh NC recently banned the installation of new garbage disposals. It caused quite a raucous I understand, with people claiming it is their God-given right to throw scraps down the drain. Other communities are offering composting programs where, along with garbage and recycling pick-up, they will pick up food scraps.

Although we don’t have a compost program in St Paul, we are planning on having a compost bin in the yard and collect food scraps rather than sending them down the drain. We did not install a garbage disposal and won’t miss it at all because we didn’t have one in our last house either. So, I’m trying to find a bin that will look good (although it will sit under the sink) and contain smells. I’m leaning towards this model because it’s simple and clean in design. It doesn't have a filter, like the more elaborate and expensive models, but I'm thinking we won't have anything sitting in there too long before taking it to the compost bin outside.

This stainless steel compost pail costs 19.95 from Gardener’s Supply.

As far as a compost bin, I’m looking for input. There are models that tumble and ones that require turning with a shovel or pitchfork. I’m looking for easy. Any suggestions out there?

Don't they look like they are having fun tumbling their compost?


Tyboty said...

We love our compost bin! It has really cut down our trash since we got it going. We keep our compostable waste in a container in the freezer, which has eliminated all of the odors, but with 5 people in the house you might not be able to sacrifice the freezer space. On the upside, you'll get more good dirt for the garden than we do. Ours only yields about a wheelbarrowful each season. I have heard from gardening friends that the rotatable composters don't work any better than the uprights, so get what look the best. We're cheap so I just picked mine up when the city was offering them. I think they do that each summer. It may have been $5 or something.

Kevin & Roxanne said...

Hey Tyson!
Thanks for dropping in and commenting. I'd have never thought of keeping scraps in the freezer....
Good input on the bins. You can't argue with a $5 deal! I checked the St Paul website and didn't see anything, but will keep my eye out for it.
BTW, please stop in and visit sometime! We'd love to catch up.

chezdavis said...

We are doing the research now and getting ready to start composting as well. We are looking at the Green Cone System; it seems to solve some of the concerns I have, and it doesn't need to be turned (though it isn't cheap). For $5, turning may not be so bad!

brett said...

My wife and I recently started composting. I was informed that the city of St. Paul has a buyers program for the Earth Machine composter, but like you I wasn't able to find it on their website. Instead, we bought a $5 Rubbermaid storage container and drilled drainage holes in the bottom. After a little tweaking we are making more black dirt than we can handle! Coupled with our regular recycling regemine we rarely throw anything away! One little tip I can pass along in my experiments with composting is that you need an equal ratio of "green" (most kitchen scraps) and "brown" (dry leaves or lawn clippings). Since we live in an apartment we don't have access to a lot of the "brown" so shredded old newspapers, bags, & junk mail became the key ingredient in creating our black gold! I should point out that even though we live in an apartment our compost is outside.

Kevin & Roxanne said...

Thanks for the tip on the Green Cone system. We're still debating our options.....

Kevin & Roxanne said...

Another $5 solution! Very creative!
Since we have no lawn right now, we won't have much yard waste either (at least until fall when the leaves drop)- Good to know about adding scrap paper to make a good mix.