Garburator – to have or not to have

There was a time that I was envious of my friends or family that had a garburator in their kitchen sink. Imagine; just peel those carrots – right INTO the sink – no muss, no fuss. It seemed easy, clean, and best of all, environmentally friendly! I imagined my chopped up food being returned to the earth to feed future plants and animals – the circle of life.

The day came when I moved into a place with a garburator of my very own! The boxes were barely unpacked before I was frantically peeling an orange and tossing the peel right in the sink! With excited anticipation and some dread I turned on the tap and flipped the switch. As I watched and heard my peel being mulched it occurred to me that I was running a lot of drinkable water down the drain… On one hand I would be keeping food waste out of the landfill, but could wasting so much water really be environmentally friendly?

The short answer is no, no the garburator is NOT environmentally friendly. In fact, many cities are banning them in new buildings. My instincts, when watching all that water wash down the drain, were correct, it is wasteful, but not only that. Garburators use electricity, the mulched food over-burdens our wastewater treatment facilities and increase the nitrate levels in the surrounding soil and water. On top of all that, the food residuals I had imagined feeding my future seafood and plants is chemically treated.

There are some people who argue that the banning of garburators is a missed opportunity, who say that with improved wastewater treatment facilities and methods, garburators could be an untapped environmental resource. From what I’ve seen so far, the days of green friendly garburators are not even in their infancy.

All that said, as with all things in life, it is important for you to discover what you can and decide for yourself.

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