How can I reuse or recycle a garbage disposal?

We had a message from Michelle on the ‘Suggest an Item’ page. She wrote:

My garbage disposal has chewed its last meal. It’s rusty bottom leaks more water than the titanic, leaving the sink unusable. For the past few procrastinating months I ignored it with a removable catch bucket under the drips. I have been defeated, hubby says its time to say goodbye. What could I possibly do with the old disposal besides a chuck in the landfill?

Garbage disposals aren’t very common in the UK – in fact I’ve never seen one in the flesh – so I can’t really give any advice or suggestions — but I’m sure the wonderful Recycle This community will be able to come up with some suggestions … right?

Like Alice’s question about kettles on Wednesday, this one is also potentially ripe for repairing – any suggestions for how it could be fixed? Any links to how-tos?

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4 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle a garbage disposal?”


  1. Kara says:

    Garbage disposals are usually mostly metal and can go for salvage rather than the landfill. A rusted-out bottom is a tricky repair even with welding equipment because the motor is usually attached to the bottom, but some handy person might be willing to try it anyway. If the motor is still working, it’s worth a try to weld on a new bottom; if not, then it’s salvage.

  2. Simon says:

    If you can find a way to safely mount it and rather unsafely disengage the safety mechanism most have to only work when the lid is on, this might make an excellent mulcher for composting woodier items such as sticks etc, or even just a a pre blender for vegetable kitchen waste

    In the garden no ones going to care if it leaks…

    I have no idea if this is possible or even practical but it’s the first thing that came to me when I read your post

  3. Bobbie says:

    I’m just wondering if you contacted the manufacturer if they would have a replacement cover. You never know.

  4. If the garbage disposal still functions (i.e. chews stuff up) but merely leaks out the bottom, I know a great use for it. Clean it up well and it can be used to grind apples or pears before pressing them for cider/perry. Ideally, you’d mount it in a stainless steel sink with and place a five gallon bucket underneath it to catch the ground fruit.

    If you don’t have a fruit tree or cider press, advertise it on craigslist for this purpose. I’d definitely take you up on the offer if you were near me.



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