Is Composting Better Than Garbage Disposal? Garbage Disposal Versus Compost Bin.

by Shawn Anderson | Last Updated:  June 13, 2020
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For handling garbage, you have two main options: garbage disposal units and the compost bins, respectively. Either option has its own merits and cons. It is important to note these benefits and downsides to be able to make the best choice for your home.You should know the differences between these two garbage handling techniques. We have deemed it necessary to come in and offer that very insight. Our explanations here go to dig deeper into these two pieces of equipment. They also tend to showcase which of the two is the better option.

Differences And Similarities

As a starting point, we are going to examine the differences between the garbage disposal and the compost bins (view prices on Amazon). We believe that an in-depth look into these differences will give a rough idea of how each operates. This knowledge will definitely help you to know how to put either of them into practice.

1. Purpose

The garbage disposal is intended to crush the food wastes into finer particles before channeling the same to the drains. As for the compost pit, it accommodates whole trash without any alterations. Also, it does not transmit the same to the drains or other complementary waste handling facilities.

A compost bin may also play the secondary role of manufacturing organic fertilizers. This is a role it plays by decomposing the garbage slowly and steadily. In the course of doing so, it enriches your soil with vital nutrients that are beyond the reach of many kinds of farmers.

2. Operational Procedures

To operate the garbage disposal, you throw in the food wastes and then switch the device on. The machine takes over thereafter and does the job of grinding the wastes appropriately. After, you need to wash the disposal, particularly its grinder, with plenty of clean water.

The compost bin requires that you pile the organic wastes, cover them with another organic matter like green leaves or soil, and leave the same to rot slowly with time. With the former, you only have to wait for a shorter duration. The latter nonetheless requires a fair degree of patience on your part.

3. Structure

Garbage disposal is an electronic device that is fitted into a kitchen’s plumbing mechanism. It derives its power from mains electricity and transmit the same to torque via a motor that is built into the system. The compost bin, on the other hand, is a box that is constructed solely to handle trash.

Still, on structure, the garbage disposal is equipped with tons of controls that are used to engage the appliance in its entirety. A simple homeowner may find these controls a bit too complicated to engage. That is why to some extent, you will need a fair degree of technical expertise to operate it.

4. Capacity

The disposal unit has a limited capacity when compared to the compost bin. It can only handle a certain amount of trash at a time. The same may not be said of a compost bin. It is sufficiently large and well suited for handling huge quantities of trash at any given time.

It is worthy to note though that the garbage disposal is still capable of handling large amounts of trash notwithstanding its smaller size. That is because it crashes the ingredients into finer particles faster after which it transmits the same to the drains or your kitchen’s plumbing mechanisms.

5. Operability

You need to possess and use up a greater-than-average level of expertise to be able to operate garbage disposal. That is because it contains loads of complicated features. Examples of the operations you may execute with this equipment are grinding, heating, and channeling.

The compost bin is just that, a bin. You need no special expertise to handle it. All you have to do is to find a special place to fix it and there you have it! Perhaps the only routine operations are the cleanliness of the bin altogether and the emptying of the bin occasionally.

6. Efficacy

By reason of possessing complicated features, parts, and specifications, thegarbage disposal is more effective in handling trash, more so food wastes. It takes a shorter duration of time and also crashes the particles so fine as to hasten the decomposition of the said trash.

Green Waste, Compost Bin

The compost bins, on the other hand, takes too long to decompose the trash. In the course of doing so, it may also produce foul stench which may interfere with the comfort of those around you. Also of note is the fact that decomposing garbage does attract flies and other harmful vectors.

7. Applicability

With a garbage disposal, it is possible for you to handle food waste only. The compost bin can nonetheless handle food wastes and indeed every other non-food waste which is organic and biodegradable. Thus, it has greater applicability and also returns a higher value for your money.

See also: What NOT To Put In Your Garbage Disposal

Other than the uses to which you may devote these two items, they also fit diverse locations and places of use. If you are a homeowner who is cut off from the national grid, the compost bin is the one to look up to. The garbage disposal is the one to choose if you have a constant supply of electrical power.

8. Space Requirements

Garbage disposal is smaller and lighter than the compost bin. It occupies a limited amount of space. There is a catch, however. This piece of equipment can only fit in fewer places in your room or home. In most cases, it is installed under the sink or in a kitchen cabinet only.

The compost bin, being larger in size, requires plenty of space to attach to. It, however, comes along with the added advantage of being able to fit in many places. You may as a matter of fact place this in both indoors and outdoors. Thus, it is the more convenient of the two items.

9. Environmental-friendliness. Are Garbage Disposals Environmentally Friendly?

The garbage disposal crushes food particles into finer sizes. It then transmits the same to the drains or kitchen plumbing for eventual disposal. Moreover, it also suppresses the foul stench that is likely to arise while the garbage decomposes. As a result, it keeps your kitchens sparklingly clean. Thus, it is truly environmentally friendly.

With the compost bins, you may only hold the organic wastes for the purposes of decomposing. Beyond that, it has almost no serious benefit or functionality. It is not uncommon for the trash to generate some stench while decomposing, as stated above. For this reason, the compost bin is not so friendly to your environment.

10. Operational Expenses

Needless to say, you will have to incur some expenses to be able to run these two pieces of equipment. The actual amount of money you will spend will vary considerably though. On the whole, the compost bin is the cheaper of the two items. You will not need any more money to run it beyond the cost of acquisition.

The case is completely different with the garbage disposal though. As noted severally, this piece of equipment draws its power from the mains electricity. As such, it is costlier to operationalize given that you will have to part with some money to settle utility bills.

11. Safety Issues

Anything that draws its power from electricity is naturally hazardous. The garbage disposal is obviously no exception to this rule. It is not uncommon for you to experience shocks, electrocutions, and fire hazards in the course of its use and engagement. The opposite, however, holds true, for the compost bin.

It is on the whole manually operated. As such, it is safer given that it poses a fairly limited amount of accidents and other forms of danger. You are hence better off and safer with it in your homestead. Feel free to choose and utilize it for your garbage handling escapades.

12. Long-term Reliability

Although these two approaches of handling trash are both reliable in the short run, they might never give off the same degree of reliability in the long run though. Of the two, the compost bin is undoubtedly more reliable in the long run. This is due to the low operating expenses and fewer operational hassles.

As hinted earlier, it does not require constant repairs, upgrades, and maintenance as is the case with the garbage disposal. If you happen to care a lot about your long-term peace of mind, the compost bin indeed is the one to pick.

13. Suitability

We have already hinted that these two appliances are suited for use in different places and environments. The garbage disposal is mainly suited for use in the urban setting where there is an abundant supply of electricity, too congested, and has access to proper infrastructure. The compost bin is however largely useful in rural settings.

In the rural area, there is a need for manure to enhance the productivity of plants without the introduction and use of too many chemicals. Moreover, the rural setting has plenty of space to dump the unwanted organic matter. Even the foul stench that arises is distributed evenly.

14. Value For Money

By ‘value for money’ we refer to the number of benefits you stand to derive from these appliances on the one hand compared to the money you use to purchase the same on the other hand. When all factors are put into consideration, the compost bin delivers the highest value for money.

That is because it is cheaper to come by yet is able to take on various kinds of uses and applications. Furthermore, the compost bin requires a limited amount of money to operationalize, maintain, and engage in the long run. Could it be that you are conscious about money and finances? This is the one to prioritize!

PS: Having examined the differences between the two devices, we now have to confront the fundamental question: ‘Is composting better than garbage disposal?’ The straight answer to this question is a firm NO! The use of garbage disposal is by far the better, option, all factors considered.


This being the case, it is in your best interest to make every effort to find one for your use. The ideal garbage disposal has to be strong, appropriately configured to fit the space you have at your premise, strong enough to last a longer duration of time, and large enough to handle all the garbage you have in your home.

To simplify your search further, we suggest that you try the top brands of garbage disposal. The Waste King, InSinkErator, General Electric, and the Moen are the top brands at the moment. They are more likely to deliver to you the best performance and utmost reliability in times of use.

Have you found our explanations insightful? Do you need further clarification? Do not shy away from seeking further help from us. We are always eager to listen to persons of your kind and address your concerns accordingly. We will surely be of help to you too!