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Garbage Disposals & Trash Compactors

Garbage Disposals: What You Should Know

Garbage disposals combine convenience and conservation by grinding up food scraps, especially non-compostables like meat, poultry and fat, and sending them to the sewage-treatment plant or septic system instead of to the landfill for slow decomposition. There are basically two types of disposals: continuous feed, where you use running water to help feed food scraps into the disposal; and batch feed, where you load the waste, then turn on the disposal by pressing the stopper into the drain. Batch feeding is a little less convenient, but it's easier to install and safer if you have youngsters since it can't be operated unless the stopper is in place.

How much power you need in your disposal should be based on how much food waste your family generates. While 1/3 horsepower units can handle small bones and softer waste, you'll want to look for a more powerful ½ hp, ¾ hp or 1 hp model if your kitchen waste typically includes tougher stuff. Though no disposal would be characterized as "whisper-quiet," the quietest disposals operate at a level that isn't loud enough to disrupt a conversation. Other considerations include jam resistance, overload protection and ease of installation.

Trash Compactors: What You Should Know

The latest trash compactors are sleek, space-saving and able to blend seamlessly into your kitchen design, ready to crush and compress your garbage to reduce waste volume by 75-80%. There are three types of trash compactors for sale: under-the-counter compactors, which install between cabinets; freestanding compactors, which can be moved out of the way into a closet or used as a kitchen island when not in use; and convertible compactors, which can be installed under-the-counter or used as freestanding.

Other factors to consider when selecting a garbage compactor include overall capacity, compression force (ram force) which determines how compact a refuse bundle is created, usually a 4 or 5 to 1 ratio, sound reduction features, odor management features and filters, and anti-jam and tilt sensors. A tilt-away basket is also a convenient trash compactor feature since it makes bag removal and replacement quick and easy.