Can you recycle garbage disposals?
You can recycle your garbage disposal by separating its plastic parts and metal. You can put the plastic in your recycling bin and the metals along with your trash. Your local pickup service will recycle the plastic for further use, and the metals will end up in the landfill.
You can also choose to sell the metals to your local scrap metal dealer for some money instead of sending them to the landfills.
What is a garbage disposal made of?
A garbage disposal is made of metals and plastic. The metals you can find in your garbage disposal include silver, iron, copper and stainless steel, and Aluminum. The amount of plastic and metals varies with your garbage disposal’s brand and model. The grinding chambers of some garbage disposals, like those by Waste King, are made entirely out of plastic. So you will see more plastic in them than metals. But in some other models, like those by InSinkErator, the grinding chambers are made of metal, either stainless steel or galvanized steel. So you will see more metals in them.
The garbage disposal motor is made of iron, and its windings are usually made of Aluminum even though they have a copper finish. You can also find some copper and silver in the garbage disposal’s electrical contacts.
Other things you may find include styrofoam and rubber.
Things you can find in a garbage disposal include plastic, rubber, styrofoam, and metals like copper, aluminum, silver, iron, and steel. The amount of these materials vary with the make and brand of the garbage disposal.
How to scrap a garbage disposal to recycle it
You need to take apart a garbage disposal in order to recycle it.
Here is how to scrap a garbage disposal;
- Remove the power cord from the garbage disposal. You can just pull it out forcefully cut it with a plier.
- Remove the rubber gasket/flange on the garbage disposal if there is any.
- Open the bottom cover plate of the garbage disposal using a screwdriver. This will give you access to the motor, and you can check whether the motor windings are copper or Aluminum by simply scratching it with a flat file tool. If the windings are made of Aluminum, leave them as they are.
- Scrap the silver and copper on the cover plate’s electrical connections.
- Open the garbage disposal grinding chamber by loosening the screws that you see on the disposal’s side. Those screws are really tight and hard to remove, so you will need to put in some effort to remove them. If the motor windings were copper, this is where you separate them.
- Separate the metal and the plastic parts of the garbage disposal.
Put the plastic parts in your recycling bin and sell the metals to your local scrap dealer.
How much money is in a garbage disposal?
Like I said before, garbage disposals have some valuable metals inside them.
On average, garbage disposals have a scrap value of 14 cents per pound. Their scrap value depends on what you can salvage from them, which in turn depends on their brand and model. This money also depends on what your local scrap dealer is willing to pay.
You may make the utmost $3 by scraping your garbage disposal, hardly a reward for all that trouble you went through. While this is not much money, scraping and recycling are better than sending your garbage disposals to the landfill.
For further reading, here is a good guide on what to do with old garbage disposal.