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May 14, 2012 02:22 PM

Garbage disposal uses

I have been reading up on garbage disposals and can not find an answer. I want to know if I can use it for corn husks and corn cobs (if broken into several sections)?
Also avacado skins? I have been putting them down and it seems OK.
Onion skins?

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  1. a garbage repair man said to me, no onion skins or other tough skins and leek ends or other rooty ends with stringy bits like scallions, no tea bags without or obviously with string, no large chicken bones such as the leg bones but small bones ok, no other meat bones at all, no eggshells, no fruit stones, no citrus pith.

    I don't really care what others say is ok to go down the disposal, I do not want to call a plumber to fix or replace mine following a smelly blocked sink so I tend to be careful and really only use it for plate scrapings and leftovers.

    2 Replies
    1. re: smartie

      Interesting--when I was researching online about garbage disposal maintenance, eggshells were recommended as a good way to help keep the unit cleaned out...hmmmmm.......

      1. re: KSlink

        Actually, walnut shells are the thing for that.

    2. I have no problem with onion skin but corn husks are a definite no no. Quinoa is also a poor idea.

      1. For me, in a mid-century house, it is not so much what the disposal can handle but what the pipes can handle. We put very little down the disposal and basically just use it for sink clearing after rinsing plates etc.

        2 Replies
        1. re: escondido123

          Same here. We scrape plates into a bag or bucket, depending on on what the scrap is (trash or compost) and put nothing down the disposal purposefully. If debris starts hindering the water draining down, flip the switch for a few seconds....pau. On another note: I had a GF who was helping her BF move out of his apt into her home a few years ago. Cleaning out his pantry, she found a box of those potato flake said they were expired quite a few years she turned on the hot water and proceeded to dump them down the drain while running the disposal. Needless to say, the BF wound up having to climb under the house to clear the obstruction from the pipes. Yeesh....

          1. re: escondido123

            Me too. Not much fall in the drainline. After numerous plumber visits, I've quit using it entirely.

          2. No corn husks, or corn cobs. No potato skins either. I think avocado skins would be OK, but check your manual before proceeding.

            I don't put tough or woody vegetable parts down mine, and after I saw the inside of the pipes once, I won't put coffee grounds down it either.

            And when purchasing, don't buy the cheapest unit you can find. Buy in the middle, price wise.

            1. Why would you want to put corn husks in the disposal? A garbage disposal is best for plate leftovers and vegetable parts left from chopping. Anything tough like what you mentioned could not only damage the disposal but also clog your pipes. Just throw that stuff in the garbage or compost them.

              22 Replies
                1. re: mojoeater

                  I want to put everything I can into it instead of filling up the landfills. Every little bit helps.

                  1. re: azDesertGal

                    Does it really? is cleaning it out of the sewage system enviromentally better than adding it to a giant compost pile of solid waste? -I'm not being sarcatic, I just don't know.

                    I wonder this every time i spend energy or water trying to get a PB jar clean enough to recycle

                    Guess it would come down to subjective utility in any case:
                    is 1 in 50? chance of blowing up $200 disposal worth 20 extra lbs of landfill per year to you?

                    1. re: azDesertGal

                      Where do you think the food from your disposal goes? Garbage heaven? It ends up in our sewer systems and rivers, or just clogs a pipe somewhere downstream. The most "green" you can be is to create a compost pile/bin.

                      1. re: azDesertGal

                        Food residue that can go into a garbage disposal readily deteriorates in a landfill. If you put a lot of that usually vegetable residue down the drain it has to be processed with a lot of water by the municipal waste water treatment plant. Here in Minnesota we have a lot of water, not quite the same as the desert.

                        1. re: John E.

                          How can it deteriorate in land fill since it is in PLASTIC garbage bags?

                            1. re: John E.

                              did a bit of looking on web, appears both trash and drain are really not advisable
                              Everyone needs to carry a portable compost bin


                              1. re: sbs401

                                "Everyone needs to carry a portable compost bin"

                                No they don't.

                            2. re: azDesertGal

                              'how can it deteriorate in land fill since it is in PLASTIC garbage bags?"

                              DO NOT put it in a plastic garbage bag, azDe. If you're really serious about landfills please learn some things, recycling wise, to figure out your problem. Sheeesh.

                              1. re: latindancer

                                Sorry but plastic is all that is sold for the cans. Wish there were more choices but then again how strong is paper? Its hard enough trying to find plastic bags that will not fall apart between my kitchen and garage. Also I think that pape would not contain the smell and I would not like my garage to start smelling bad.
                                Wish there was a better way but I guess I will just stick to what I am doing and using the plastic but trying to avoid a lot of this by using disposal for anything that I can.

                                1. re: azDesertGal

                                  I'm still confused why there is no concern for the use of excess water (in a desert community), but lots of concern over a landfill.

                                  1. re: wyogal

                                    I've spent a bit of time in Mesa. Despite it being a desert water is used there as if it's in endless supply. It mostly comes from the Colorado and Salt Rivers. For the population size they don't have a lot of water. What they do have is a lot of room for landfills. There is so much open space down there it is unbelievable, even in the metro area. (Plenty of room for landfills).

                                    1. re: John E.

                                      Yes, and every time we are down in Mesa (going there middle of June to visit MIL), there are more developments with more swimming pools, and artificial "lakes" and ponds.

                                      1. re: wyogal

                                        I remember being in Mesa one March and it was 100 degrees on St. Patrick's Day.
                                        I thought it was June 17th. Another year I was there for the entire months of January and February and the temperature never got higher than 70 degrees. (Which was still ok by me).

                                  2. re: azDesertGal

                                    "Wish there were more choices"

                                    You know what? My motto is "where there's a will there's a way". You're not researching enough. Especially when you've stated 'it's hard enough trying to find plastic bags that will not fall apart". Seriously? I've used plastic bags for taking items to shelters that not only carried so much weight (and were completely tear resistant) that the guy taking it out of my car could barely lift it.
                                    If you're really serious about landfills then you'll figure it out. I'm beginning to wonder....

                                    1. re: azDesertGal


                                      Home Depot carries a product called "Ecoguard"....biodegradable, compostable bags for food waste. Same for cans/bottles. Just don't fill them so they start tearing. They're not super heavy duty.
                                      My garbage bin is outside in an alley....the smell is no different than decomposing grass clippings/yard waste in another bin.

                                      1. re: latindancer

                                        I called and they had them last year but the company bought them all back.and they are no longer available. Must have been a problem with them.
                                        Since my cans are in my garage I need something to contain the smell especially in temps over 100 degrees.

                                        1. re: azDesertGal

                                          I agree with those that say you're not trying very hard. I just googled "biodegradable garbage bags" and found at least 6 kinds.

                                          Many of these are available at Whole Foods (or Sunflower, since you are in AZ).

                                          Water wasting is a real concern in the desert, a much bigger concern that landfills, imo. Your environmentalism is mis-directed, and I'm as crunchy as they get.

                                          Do you rent? I assume that's why you don't care about breaking the disposal.

                                          1. re: caviar_and_chitlins

                                            I believe there's a bit of obtuseness going on imho.
                                            As you say there are lots and lots of answers and very practical ways to deal with the request.

                                            1. re: latindancer

                                              No kidding. It'd be easier to read up on a worm bin or compost holder or order some bags on Amazon than to throw out excuses on Chowhound.