Garbage disposals are reliable plumbing appliances that require minimum maintenance. But at some point, they will either break down, or you will decide to upgrade. When that happens, what do you do with your old garbage disposal?
Your old garbage disposal can be donated to organizations like Salvation Army or Goodwill. You can also opt to recycle your garbage disposal, use a pickup service to scrap and recycle it or send it to the landfill using a garbage collection service.
1. Donate the garbage disposal if it is working
If your garbage disposal is in good working condition, donate it to non-profit organizations like Salvation Army or Goodwill. Many people are looking for used appliances, so you are helping them and helping the environment.
There are also many local charity shops to which you can donate garbage disposals and other old appliances. Check your local authority website or simply Google for such shops nearby.
That being said, not all charities are willing to take garbage disposals since these appliances are basically food grinders; there will be some debris in them even if they are cleaned. So most charity shops don’t think that garbage disposals are fit to be sold like a used refrigerator or an oven.
But still, you will be able to find some organizations in your locality that take them. If you can’t find any suck local charity shops you can book a pickup with national-level organizations like Salvation Army through their websites.
2. Sell on Craiglist
Instead of donating to charities, you can also sell your old garbage disposals in marketplaces like Craiglist and Facebook. Here is a Craiglist listing showcasing many garbage disposals – https://denver.craigslist.org/d/for-sale/search/sss?query=garbage%20disposal. Many people are looking for a good, working garbage disposal, so you won’t find any difficulty finding a buyer.
You can also use your garage sale to sell the old garbage disposal. Or give it to a friend for free or for a fee.
Whether you are donating or selling, make sure to clean your garbage disposal. Garbage disposals can be really nasty and smelly, and nobody would want them to come with any freebies!
3. Recycle the garbage disposal
The best and most environmental-friendly way to dispose of your garbage disposal is recycling it.
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.
4. Use a curbside pickup
Many cities have curbside pickup services to remove unwanted home appliances, including garbage disposals. If you are not keen on dismantling your garbage disposal, you can opt for their service. The rules on what you can dispose of via curbside pickup vary from city to city, so you may need to check with your local authorities first by either calling them or checking their website. The details of what they can pick up, their fee, and their timings are detailed on the website of your area’s governing body, and the pickup can be ordered online along with the payment.
5. Use as a compost shredder
If your garbage disposal still works, use it as a compost shredder to shred food wastes, leaves, and such soft items.
Here is a video of using a garbage disposal as a compost shredder;
Interesting idea, isn’t it? The first time I came across this idea what while browsing youtube. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find that video so I am sharing this one instead.
What is done here is connecting a large pipe to the mouth of the garbage disposal. Using a hopper would have been a better idea. The dishwasher inlet of the garbage disposal is used to run water while lots of leaves are showed down its mouth. It is important to run plenty of water while doing this because garbage disposals are easily clogged if you put the wrong type of food wastes into them, and leaves are not on that list of disposal-friendly foods.
The outlet of the garbage disposal is opened to a tank holding to hold the compost. It is also important to have lots of holes in this tank to drain the water that is coming along with the shredded leaves.
I think this is the best thing you can do with your old garbage disposal that works.