Some time ago I posted some information about “The Electric Pig,” an article which came out in the early days of the garbage disposer.
I was interested to see an article at The Atlantic entitled “The New Alchemy of Waste,” in which the ecological benefits of disposers was flogged in terms glowing enough to make you feel like a traitor if you didn’t use one. I thought that was significant, until I noticed that the article was sponsored content written by Emerson, the makers of the InSinkErator.
Apparently the debate continues. Many cities have banned disposers altogether – New York, for one, although it rescinded the ban for private residences in 1997. Much of the support, of course, comes from disposer manufacturers, including shilled “science” articles, and it’s not easy to cut through the marketing noise. That said, it’s important to remember that funding source does not automatically invalidate research.
I was able to find a 2008 article over at Slate that seems to discuss the competing factors in a balanced way. Their consensus? Compost if at all possible, but otherwise a disposer seems to put less net ecological strain on the environment than landfilling, with the caveat that you should check first to make sure your community isn’t running out of water.
The Old Wolf has spoken.