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Can You Put Plastic In Garbage Disposal


National Geographic reports that the US produces more plastic waste than any other country. Americans produced over 46 million tons of plastic trash in 2016. Only around 8.7% of this waste gets recycled. The garbage disposal in your home works hard to make your life easier. You already know the gratification that comes with disposing of food waste with the press of a button. However, most people usually treat the unit as a garbage can. This means occasionally throwing plastic waste too into it.


People put plastic trash down their disposals more often than they think they do. Many pack their produce in plastic bags and twist ties. So, it is more common for them to end up in your sink. This plastic can go down the disposal unit, where it can create a jam.


So Should You Put Plastic in Your Garbage Disposal?

The answer is simple. You should not put plastic into your garbage disposal unit. Even when some type of plastic can grind up, it is not a biodegradable material. There are two challenges to it.

  • Your disposal may be connected to the public waste treatment system. In that case, the waste treatment workers will have an extra material to filter and dispose of before the waste is processed.
  • It may be connected to a septic system. The plastic will then stay in there and never break down.

Plastic cannot be disposed of like other types of waste. It may seem to be a flexible material, but it is durable and can be extremely hard to break.


Garbage Disposal Vs Plastic Waste

A garbage disposal system is designed to keep organic waste out of the solid waste stream. It prevents organic matter from ending up in trash cans. Organic matter in trash cans can attract mice, rats, flies, and other pests that spread disease. Since plastic cannot rot or provide food to pests, there is no need for them to be ground in the disposal unit.

If a piece of plastic occasionally falls in, it is not going to do any harm to the garbage disposal system. Still, it may block the pipes. The hard plastic will grind after some time. Plastic wrappers can ball up and may not grind. So, it is best to keep out plastic and any other non-organic material from the disposal unit.

Interestingly, most people never make full use of their disposal unit. Keeping out plastic, in all its forms, is important. Still, you should know the kind of materials that can be put into the garbage disposal. The garbage disposal should be used to put organic food wastes such as:
  • Fruit Grinds
  • Vegetable waste
  • Eggshells
  • Beads scrap
  • Moldy bread
  • Paper coffee filters
  • Corn cobs
  • Rice coffee grounds
  • Bones


A garbage disposal unit is a useful appliance. It provides optimal convenience and protects the environment. It also helps reduce the issues created by pests that would otherwise feed on the organic wastes and spread diseases. By keeping the landfills free of organic waste, this system prevents the propagation of pests and vermin. Keeping organic waste out of landfills also prevents the creation of methane gas.

You should use your garbage disposal unit to its full potential. It is best to read the manufacturer’s instructions to find out what materials can be put into it. However, putting plastics and other non-organic waste into it can jam the system. It is a valuable device. It provides lots of convenience in keeping your home and the environment clean.



What is the Environmental Impact of Plastic?

Plastic is popular because of its versatility, flexibility, and durability.  It is best to optimize the lifecycle of plastics in your home. This can be done by reusing and recycling them. Both these steps can help reduce the need to create new plastic.

The benefits include:

  • Reduced energy consumption in producing new plastic
  • Conserving fossil fuels
  • Reduced amount of solid waste entering landfill
  • Reduced emission of gases such as carbon dioxide.


How is Plastic Recycled?

If you cannot recycle plastics at home, all you will have to do is separate your trash. All plastic waste should be kept separate in a place for pick up by your trash removal service. The key steps involved in plastic recycling include:

  • Sorting by type of polymer
  • Shredding
  • Washing
  • Melting
  • Pelletizing
  • Production of new products


The process involved two main stages:

  1. Sorting: Recycling facilities will do sorting using automatic systems. A manual sorting may be performed to ensure all the contaminants are removed.
  2. ShreddingThe plastic material will either be shredded into flakes or melted to form pellets. It is then molded to create the new products.


So, coming back to the question of whether you can put plastic into your garbage disposal, the answer is a ‘No’. While it is impossible to prevent an occasional piece of plastic from getting into the equipment, it is meant only for organic waste materials. You should look for a residential trash removal service that can remove the plastic and other waste materials for recycling and proper disposal.



Read More:

  1. 7 Ways To Reduce Waste In Your Home
  2. How Much Should You Tip For Junk Removal

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