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Can a Garbage Disposal be Recycled?

Appliances in a recycling bin

Just like other kitchen appliances, you CAN definitely recycle your garbage disposal. Considering its metallic composition, it’s a much better alternative to keep the planet clean.

While disposing of large appliances, there is a possibility of damaging the environment as they can contain harmful chemicals. Any negligence in this process can cause some serious problems with the ground or water. Therefore, it is extraordinarily important to recycle garbage disposals in an efficient and safe manner.    

Disposing Of vs. Recycling

When you throw away an electrical appliance into a trash can, it ultimately reaches a landfill where it rusts. The rusting process can produce harmful chemicals that are then expelled into the environment. Given that a lot of appliances are non-biodegradable, this can be obnoxious for our planet. For example, refrigerators and air conditioners contain CFCs that have detrimental effects on the atmosphere.

When it comes to recycling, you can explore a number of avenues to safely get rid of your garbage disposal. For instance, you can donate the appliances to the local charities if they are operational. Similarly, you can re-sell these products (air conditioners, microwaves, garbage disposals, etc.) for some cash.

Even if you have a damaged garbage disposal, it can be recycled for scrap metal. During this process, all the harmful elements (like iron) are removed from the appliance and the body is re-used. Owing to the environmental benefits, it is preferable to recycle your garbage disposal and other electrical appliances.

Where to Recycle Garbage Disposal?

Pile of old appliances sitting on concrete outside

In order to recycle your broken garbage disposal, you need to find a place that recycles metal. Metal recyclers are quite popular in the United States and are present in almost all cities. Usually, the place that pays you for aluminum cans will (most probably) help you out with metal recycling. If you don’t know any metal recycler, follow these steps to find one.  

How to Find a Metal Recycler Near You?

The very first thing that you need to do is to figure out the zip code of your area. A lot of people might know that beforehand but if you don’t, you can always ask google. Simply type “zip code of” any area and the search engine will give you the result.

Now, search metal recycling + zip code on Google and it will show you all the nearby metal recyclers. For instance, we type metal recycling + 19043 and the following results will appear.

Surf through these results to find the closest one and get your garbage disposal recycled.

What About Garbage Disposal Repair?

midsection of repair man holding tools and wearing a tool belt

A faulty or damaged garbage disposal can be extremely messy and irritating. Some people believe that garbage disposal can’t be repaired but that’s NOT true. If your disposal unit suddenly stops working, it can be revived through thorough cleaning and repair. The following tips can help you troubleshoot your garbage disposal.

Turn off the Device

Before you begin working with your garbage disposal, make sure that the unit is turned off and unplugged. It is important to ensure that the main supply is off because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Necessary Tools

top view of tools in a tool belt on a wooden table

Repairing a garbage disposal can be an easier task if you use the right tools for the right job. Some of the tools that you will need are listed below.

  • Hex key
  • Screwdriver
  • Cup plunger
  • Bucket
  • Garbage disposal wrench

The Garbage Disposal is Humming

Sometimes, it happens that a hard material gets stuck in the blades which prevents them from moving. As a result, the disposal unit produces a low sound when you turn it on. In this case, you will need to use the hex key (Allen wrench) to remove the clog.

Start by clearing the sink with a cup plunger. You will need a bucket to store the excess water that is sucked from the sink. Once you have done that, insert the Allen wrench into a tiny hole at the bottom of the garbage disposal. Work it back and forth to rotate the blades. Keep repeating this step until the movement of the blades becomes smoother.

Make the connections to the disposal unit and check whether it is working fine or not.

Jammed Impeller

underneath cabinet view of a garbage disposal with a toolbox open next to it

If the Allen key exercise didn’t improve the situation, it is possible that the impeller of your disposal is stuck. In order to counter this problem, you will need to use a garbage disposal wrench into the disposal.

Begin by removing the drain cover so that the wrench could be inserted through the top of the unit. After that, move it around so that the blockage breaks away and the impeller starts rotating. If the clog is caused by something big and solid, you can use a tong or something to remove it.

NEVER extend your hand into the garbage disposal even if it is unplugged. Once you are confident that the clog has been dealt with, plug in the unit for testing.

Use Carefully in Future

hand putting apple peels and grapes in a garbage disposal

If the problem is resolved, make sure that you follow the precautions carefully to avoid any inconvenience in the future. The most important guidelines for a hassle-free usage of garbage disposal are listed below.  

  • NEVER put greasy materials, bones, fruit pits, and other irritating substances in your disposal. 
  • Regularly, clean the unit with vinegar, baking soda, and hot water to remove sticky materials from the blades and impeller.
  • Grind a cup of ice cubes in the garbage disposal to keep the blades sharp and efficient.
  • NEVER overload the garbage disposal with too much debris. Usually, the limit of most disposal units is about 1 cup of debris at a time.  
dishwasher with door slightly open revealing clean dishes

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