Why can’t I just put my food scraps down the garbage disposal?

Garbage disposals can cause sewer backups and put more strain on the City’s wastewater system. 


  • When food scraps are sent down the drain, they combine with other wastes in the sewer system and end up at the wastewater treatment plant. 

  • Sending food scraps down the drain is one of the least preferred ways to manage food waste because the food decays rapidly in the sewer system and generates methane gas. Methane emissions from sewers are released directly into the atmosphere, contributing to the climate crisis. 

  • When you put food down the drain, even with a garbage disposal, items such as bread, oatmeal, pasta, and rice can expand when wet and form a gelatinous paste that blocks up your drain.  

  • The use of a garbage disposal can put an increased strain on existing sewer pipes and infrastructure due to oil and food waste clogs. This can result in expensive plumbing bills, especially in older buildings. 

  • According to the EPA , sink grinders are also significantly less environmentally friendly.  Food is a valuable resource and sending your food scraps to an anaerobic digester facility is a much better option than putting them in the garbage disposal.
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Show All Answers

1. What is the Save As You Throw Program?
2. Why is Middletown trying the SAYT program?
3. How does the program work?
4. Are there truly high costs for disposal?
5. What is the City's relationship with the Lisbon Incinerator?
6. How was the program researched?
7. Are other towns doing this program?
8. How can I save money with this program?
9. Is this program actually going to work to reduce waste?
10. Where can I get more information on unit-based pricing?
11. Why do the bags cost more?
12. How are the bags collected?
13. What stores sell the bags?
14. What if I can’t afford the bags?
15. Is the City enforcing the use of the bags?
16. Is Middletown profiting from the sale of the bags?
17. Are we required to use the orange trash bags?
18. Why is the City encouraging the use of plastic bags?
19. Can the City use another vendor that offers bags that cost less?
20. How do I separate my food scraps?
21. Where can I get a food scrap bucket or countertop container?
22. I already do backyard composting. Should I participate in the food scrap recycling program?
23. What do I do with yard waste?
24. What do I do with cat litter and dog waste
25. Why didn’t I see a reduction in my bill?
26. What do I do with bulky waste?
27. Do I do anything differently with my recycling?
28. Is there a bag for recycling?
29. Why can’t I just put my food scraps down the garbage disposal?
30. How is food scrap collection being enforced?
31. Are the food scraps really separated?
32. Won’t the food scrap collection program create more work?
33. How do I get involved in advising the program?
34. What is the Sanitation District?
35. How does the Sanitation District fee work?
36. Why do I have to pay a fee for the Sanitation District, even if I am not using the service?
37. Why didn’t I see a reduction in my bill?
38. I’m a renter and never had a sanitation bill. Where’s my savings?
39. Can I choose to use a private trash hauler?
40. How did the City figure out the costs of this program?
41. Why can’t we just have a voluntary program?
42. Why are we doing this just in the Sanitation District?
43. Is it true that Wesleyan and Middlesex Health are exempt from this program?
44. Why can’t the city give everyone an in-home electric “composter” instead?
45. Are schools recycling and diverting food scraps?
46. How does Middletown’s program compare to Stonington’s?
47. What does this mean if I am a Landlord?
48. What does this mean if I am a Renter?
49. How does the Sanitation District pricing compare to private haulers?