Top 6 Garbage Disposal Alternatives You Should Consider

Someone peeling a cucumber over their sink

It’s important for everyone to know how to safely dispose of food scraps. One of the more common methods of doing so is with a garbage disposal in the kitchen sink. Though the idea of a garbage disposal is appealing, the reality is problematic in several ways. Garbage disposals come with many downsides, as they aren’t very eco-friendly, can develop a foul odor, and much more.

The good news is living without a garbage disposal is easier than you might think. There are plenty of disposal alternatives that are more convenient, reliable, and environmentally friendly. To help you find a new method, we’ll cover the basics of garbage disposal vs compost and several other alternatives. We’ll also discuss:

Before we get into the different disposal methods, let’s discuss a few of the reasons why you should make this change in the first place.

7 reasons you should consider alternatives to garbage disposals 

Someone taking the lid off of a kitchen waste shredder

So, why bother ditching your garbage disposal for an alternative method? The reality is, garbage disposals aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Here are 7 reasons why you should consider a different garbage disposal method.

  1. Water waste: Running water is necessary to flush food down the drain after the garbage disposal shreds it. This water is basically wasted, as its only purpose is to move scraps from one place to another. 
  2. Some food items can’t go into a garbage disposal: There are several food items that can’t even go into a garbage disposal. Things like coffee grounds, egg shells, pits, seeds, potato peels, and fat can all cause problems in a garbage disposal with a septic system.
  3. Foul odor: A garbage disposal can develop a very foul odor, especially if you put food items into the disposal that aren’t meant to go inside. The smells typically come from food particles that are trapped somewhere in the drain pipe.
  4. Grinding and rattling noises: Garbage disposals can get loud, especially when they’re jammed up. Even when not jammed, you still wouldn’t want to use one while other people are sleeping. 
  5. Risk of clogs: Unfortunately, garbage disposals can be very prone to getting jammed and blocked up. When these things happen, you’ll need to fix the jam yourself or call a professional for help.
  6. Must be replaced entirely: If even one part of your garbage disposal breaks, you’ll need to buy an entirely new unit. This can end up being costly in the long run.
  7. Extra waste in water treatment facilities: Using a garbage disposal means you’re sending extra waste to water treatment facilities and septic systems. Your food waste can end up creating a sludge that’s difficult for any septic system to process.



6 garbage disposal alternatives to reduce your food waste

Why spend money on a garbage disposal when there are plenty of simple and eco-friendly food waste disposal methods to choose from? Below are a few alternatives ranging from compost bins to strainers. You should have no trouble finding one that suits your needs and lifestyle. 

1. Bokashi bin

A bokashi bin composter being opened part way

The Bokashi bin is one of the best indoor compost bins on the market today. It’s about the size of a trash can, so it will blend in nicely among your other bins. With a Bokashi bin, you can transform your scraps into usable fertilizer. What sets the bin apart from other composting methods on this list, however, is that it relies on an anaerobic approach to composting.

Anaerobic composting involves the deprivation of oxygen to create an acidic environment. The heat generated by this acidity helps to break down your food. To speed up the process, you can sprinkle some Bokashi bran on top of the pile. This special microbial additive is made up of a dry mixture of molasses, bran, and EM-1 microorganisms. 



  • Can create compost
  • Emanates little to no odor
  • Microbial additive helps to speed up the process
  • Size of trash bin and recycling bins, not countertop friendly
  • Not ideal for large amounts of food waste



2. Sink strainer

A clean silver sink strainer in a large kitchen sink

A sink strainer is one of the simplest ways to catch your food and prevent it from going down the drain. This convenient and inexpensive device is easy to install, no plumber required. They’re designed to catch everything, like tea bags, small bones, and chunks of food you’ve scraped off your dishes that would otherwise clog up your sink drain.

Once your strainer is full, you can empty it out in a trash can or any other appropriate garbage disposal units. As you can see, strainers don’t remove scraps from your home. They prevent the food from going down the drain and ending up in the sewer system, but you’ll need to have some sort of green bin to put the food.



  • Inexpensive
  • Straightforward
  • Can only hold small amounts of food before it needs to be emptied
  • Catches food but doesn’t remove it from your home


3. Lomi

A woman scraping food scraps into a lomi electric composter

If you want a garbage disposal method that’s quick and a lot easier than most methods on this list, look no further than Lomi. With this compact electric composter, you can toss your scraps inside, turn on the device, and forget about it. In less than a day, Lomi will use heat, abrasion, and oxygen to transform your scraps into natural fertilizer. No garbage disposal can do that!

The lack of odor is a huge benefit to using Lomi over other types of composters. In comparison, the smell of a garbage disposal can make the kitchen a really unpleasant place to be. That’s why Lomi has a carbon filter that helps ensure that these smells never escape the device. 



  • Odor-free
  • Can handle more types of food than a garbage disposal 
  • Simple and user-friendly
  • Fits on your kitchen counter
  • Sells out quickly
  • Not suitable for large families that create a lot of kitchen waste


4. Outdoor composting

A woman composting outdoors

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a garbage disposal alternative, an outdoor compost pile may be for you. This method is among the most simple and low-cost there is. You can purchase a bin or make your own out of something like wood pallets. You can then dump your food and yard waste into the bin for it to break down into compost.

This method saves you from the sound, odor, and potential mechanical failure of a garbage disposal. It’s also incredibly eco-friendly, as the resulting fertilizer can be used to nourish plants. That said, you’d need to have backyard space and be willing to go outside and turn the pile once or twice a week. This will ensure that oxygen is evenly dispersed through the pile, which helps you achieve healthier fertilizer faster.

If you don’t know what to compost  in your new compost heap, check out our helpful guide!



  • Inexpensive
  • Ideal for large amounts of food waste
  • Creates fertilizer for your garden
  • Requires minor physical labor
  • Not accessible for those in apartments or without yard space


5. Vermicomposting

Someone with gloves holding dirt filled with worms

Vermicomposting involves the use of worms, usually red wigglers, to break down food waste. The worms eat the scraps, which helps the scraps break down faster into usable compost. If you’re not sure how to vermicompost, you’ll need to start with a bin or container filled with dirt, cut up food waste, moistened and shredded paper, and worms. The bin should also have holes in the top to ensure that the worms and scraps get the oxygen they need.

Whenever you create new food waste, you can simply drop them into your vermicomposting bin. This bin could be outside or inside, small or large, depending on your needs. There are some bins, like the Essential Living Composter, that have a very visually appealing yet subtle look. All that said, if the idea of dealing with worms makes you uncomfortable, you may want to opt for a quiet, clean, and worm-free electric composter.



  • Enhances soil nutrition and fertility
  • Creates healthy fertilizer quickly
  • Can be done indoors or outdoors
  • Not suited to people who are squeamish
  • Somewhat more expensive set-up
  • Sometimes there is a mild odor


6. The Drain Strainer

A large drain strainer for busy commercial kitchens

The Drain Strainer is a wet waste collector intended for commercial purposes. Restaurants, for example, can use this collector to protect their floss drains, wall drains, and grease traps. The device, which is shaped like a drawer, allows water from your sink to filter through while catching all the food that would otherwise clog your pipes. This saves you from frequently having to call a plumber or perform a grease trap pumping.

As stated above, The Drain Strainer is intended for businesses. If you’re currently looking to replace garbage disposals at your workplace, it’s definitely an option worth considering. It’s far quieter and much more efficient than a garbage disposal. 



  • Protects against backflow from the sewer system
  • Ideal for large amounts of food waste
  • Helps prevent clogged drains and pipes 
  • Not suited to most homes
  • Not worth it for those who create small amounts of food waste


Lomi - the best garbage disposal alternative 

A lomi electric composter filed with different food waste

Of all the garbage disposal alternatives on this list, Lomi is the best long-term option. Its ease of use and compact design make it a fantastic choice for any household, though it’s especially convenient for those living in apartments. Here are a few of the many reasons to invest in a Lomi over your typical garbage disposal.

  • Lomi is far more reliable: You don’t have to worry about Lomi constantly jamming up and breaking down on you. Unlike your typical garbage disposal, this isn’t a device you’ll need to continually replace. This makes Lomi a better long-term choice for your wallet as well!
  • Lomi repurposes food waste: Food waste doesn’t have to be actual waste. Lomi can unlock the potential of scraps by transforming them into a natural fertilizer. You can then throw this fertilizer on your indoor plants, your garden outdoors, or even in the garbage if you choose to do so. 
  • Lomi is incredibly user-friendly: Garbage disposals can be needlessly complicated. With Lomi, however, you can just scrape food off your dishes and into the device throughout the day. Then you simply press a button and let Lomi take care of the rest.

Of course, one of the most appealing features of Lomi is that it’s better for the environment. With a garbage disposal, your scraps are thrust down your pipes and into water treatment facilities. From there, any solid food pieces will be filtered out and sent to a landfill, incinerator, or anaerobic digestion facility. None of these outcomes are ideal, as they all have their own environmental consequences ranging from water pollution to air pollution.

With Lomi, you can dispose of your food without having a negative environmental impact. Instead of wasting water, taking up space in landfills, and releasing methane into the atmosphere, your food could find new life as natural fertilizer. With this fertzilier, you can return these organic materials to the earth in a way that nourishes your plants and helps them to grow stronger. What’s not to love?


Now that you know about all the great alternatives out there, why would you subject yourself to the sounds and odors of a garbage disposal? Whether you decide to invest in an electric kitchen composter or buy a simple strainer, you’re doing your part to reduce water waste while saving yourself from clogged drains.

If you decide to go the composting route with vermicomposting or an outdoor composting heap, check out our informative composting for beginners article. You’ll find all the tips and tricks you need to create healthy compost for your garden while safely disposing of your scraps.

Written by: E Sawden