Items to Avoid Putting in your Garbage Disposal if you Have a Septic Tank

Having a garbage disposal in your kitchen can be a convenient and efficient way to dispose of food waste. However, if you also have a septic tank, there are certain items you should never put into your garbage disposal. Septic systems operate differently than city sewer systems, and disposing of certain materials down the drain can cause issues with your septic tank and drain field.

One of the main concerns with using a garbage disposal with a septic tank is the potential for clogs and blockages. While a standard septic tank is designed to break down organic waste, it may have difficulty processing certain types of materials. These materials can clog the pipes leading to your septic tank and cause backups and overflows.

Some common items that should never be put in a garbage disposal with a septic tank include:

Fats, oils, and greases: These substances can solidify in your pipes and septic tank, causing blockages and potentially damaging your plumbing system.

Coffee grounds: While small amounts of coffee grounds may be okay, large amounts can clog your pipes and cause issues with your septic system. It’s best to compost coffee grounds or dispose of them in the trash.

Eggshells: Eggshells can grind up into small pieces and accumulate in your septic tank, leading to potential clogs.

Stringy vegetables: Foods like celery, asparagus, and artichokes have long, fibrous strands that can wrap around your garbage disposal blades and cause clogs.

Non-food items: It may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that your garbage disposal is designed for food waste only. Avoid putting non-food items, such as plastic, glass, or metal, into your disposal as they can damage the blades and cause significant issues with your septic system.

By being mindful of what you put into your garbage disposal with a septic tank, you can help avoid costly repairs and keep your septic system functioning properly.

Non-Biodegradable Items

When it comes to using a garbage disposal with a septic tank, it is important to avoid putting non-biodegradable items down the drain. Non-biodegradable items are materials that cannot be broken down by bacteria or other natural processes. These items can cause clogs in your pipes and can damage your septic tank and drain field.

Some common non-biodegradable items to avoid putting in your garbage disposal if you have a septic tank include:

  • Plastic wrappers
  • Metal objects
  • Glass shards
  • Paper products with wax coatings
  • Cigarette butts
  • Disposable diapers
  • Sanitary pads
  • Condoms
  • Medication

These materials can accumulate in your septic tank and can lead to blockages and backups. They can also contaminate the groundwater if they make their way into your drain field. To avoid these problems, it’s best to dispose of non-biodegradable items in the trash instead of the garbage disposal.

Grease and Oil

One of the main items to avoid putting in your garbage disposal if you have a septic tank is grease and oil. These substances can be extremely detrimental to the health of your septic system.

When you pour grease or oil down your garbage disposal, it hardens and congeals as it cools, which can lead to clogging in your pipes and septic tank. This can cause backups and even system failure, resulting in costly repairs.

Additionally, grease and oil can interfere with the natural bacteria in your septic tank that helps break down waste. Over time, the accumulation of grease and oil can disrupt the proper functioning of your septic system, leading to inefficiency and potential damage.

To properly dispose of grease and oil, it is recommended to let it cool and solidify, and then scrape it into a container for disposal in the regular trash. Alternatively, you can pour it into a sealable container and take it to a local recycling center that accepts used cooking oil.

By avoiding putting grease and oil in your garbage disposal, you can help maintain the health and efficiency of your septic tank.

Coffee Grounds

Many people are in the habit of disposing of their coffee grounds in the garbage disposal, but this can cause problems for septic tank systems. Coffee grounds are notorious for clogging drains and pipes, and this includes septic tank systems. When coffee grounds are rinsed down the garbage disposal, they can accumulate in the pipes and create blockages. This can lead to costly repairs and maintenance for the septic tank system.

Additionally, coffee grounds do not break down easily in septic tank systems. The solid particles of coffee grounds can settle at the bottom of the tank and contribute to buildup and sludge formation. This can affect the overall efficiency and functionality of the septic tank system, increasing the likelihood of backups and drain field problems.

It is best to avoid disposing of coffee grounds in the garbage disposal if you have a septic tank system. Instead, consider other disposal options such as composting or placing them in your regular trash. Composting coffee grounds can provide rich nutrients for your garden, while disposing of them in regular trash will prevent any potential clogs or issues with your septic tank system.

What NOT to put in the garbage disposal with a septic tank:
Coffee Grounds

Fibrous Foods

While fibrous foods like fruits and vegetables are a healthy addition to any diet, they should not be put in a garbage disposal if you have a septic tank. The fibrous nature of these foods can cause clogs and blockages in your plumbing system, leading to expensive repairs.

When you put fibrous foods in your garbage disposal, the fibers can get tangled and accumulate in the pipes, especially in older septic systems. This can lead to a buildup of waste material and create a backup in your plumbing system.

To avoid this issue, it’s best to dispose of fibrous foods in the garbage can or compost pile instead. By doing so, you can help maintain the health and functionality of your septic tank and avoid costly repairs.

Examples of fibrous foods to avoid putting in your garbage disposal:

-Pineapple

-Celery

-Asparagus

-Artichokes

-Corn husks

-Banana peels

-Onion skins

-Carrot peels

-Fruit and vegetable rinds

By being mindful of what you put in your garbage disposal, you can prevent clogs and maintain a properly functioning septic tank.

Eggshells

Eggshells may seem like they can easily be disposed of in a garbage disposal with a septic tank, but it is actually best to avoid putting them down the drain. While small pieces of eggshell may seem harmless, they can actually cause many problems for your septic system.

Firstly, eggshells are composed mostly of calcium carbonate, which does not break down easily. When eggshells accumulate in your septic tank, they can create a thick layer of solid waste that can lead to clogging and blockages in the system.

Additionally, eggshells are sharp and can potentially damage the blades of the garbage disposal. This can lead to costly repairs and replacements.

Instead of putting eggshells down the garbage disposal, it is best to dispose of them in the regular trash. Alternatively, you can also use them in your garden as a natural source of calcium for plants.

By avoiding putting eggshells in your garbage disposal with a septic tank, you can help maintain a healthy and efficient septic system.

Harsh Chemicals

Using harsh chemicals in your garbage disposal can be damaging to your septic tank system. These chemicals can disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria and enzymes that are essential for breaking down waste in your septic tank.

Avoid putting bleach, drain cleaners, and other harsh chemicals down your garbage disposal as they can kill the beneficial bacteria and enzymes that help break down solid waste in your septic tank. Without these bacteria and enzymes, your septic tank may not be able to effectively process waste, leading to clogs, backups, and potential damage to your septic system.

If you need to unclog your garbage disposal or clean it, opt for natural alternatives instead. Baking soda and vinegar can be used to safely clean your garbage disposal without harming your septic tank. You can also use biodegradable enzyme cleaners specifically designed for septic systems.

By avoiding harsh chemicals in your garbage disposal, you can protect the health and longevity of your septic tank system.

Video:

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Ryan Pietrzak

Ryan Pietrzak, a licensed plumber with 12+ years of experience, is the trusted expert behind Plumbing.Academy. With a wealth of practical knowledge, Ryan guides you through plumbing challenges, making informed decisions easier. His reputable advice, rooted in real-world expertise, empowers both DIY enthusiasts and seasoned plumbers.