Garbage Disposal vs Septic Disposer: What's the Difference?

If you are trying to choose between a standard garbage disposal system and a septic disposer, you may find it is a difficult choice. Garbage disposal systems of any kind are designed to reduce solid food waste, which can cause many problems for the environment. Garbage disposal systems reduce solid waste to small enough particles that it effectively becomes a liquid, which allows it to be processed by the same highly effective waste processing systems that deal with sewage, converting it into useful things such as fertilizer. At the same time, garbage disposal systems make dealing with garbage in your kitchen much easier and more sanitary than it would otherwise be.

Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposal units are integrated into sinks. When solid waste goes down the drain, the garbage disposal is there to catch it and trap it on top of a turntable. The turntable, powered by a motor of up to 1 horsepower, uses centrifugal force to send the solid waste to its edges, where it is discarded.

Garbage disposal systems can have a variety of extra features. Many contain safety features that prevent hands and small objects from accidentally getting near the blades during operation of the garbage disposal. For example, many garbage disposal units are batch fed, which means that they accept material in batches and cannot accept new material while running.

Septic Disposer

Septic disposers function in much the same way as standard garbage disposal units. However, in addition to this, septic disposers are set up to work with your septic tank. A septic disposer, in contrast with a standard garbage disposal unit, sends its liquid waste directly to your septic tank to be processed. Once there, the liquid waste settles and separates itself naturally. The lightest materials, known as scum, float to the top. The heaviest materials, known as sludge, sink to the bottom. In the middle, the water is relatively clean. The septic tank gradually draws this water out and moves it out of the septic tank to a disposal field, where the water is dumped into soil and gravel that filter it as a final step.

Septic disposers have many advantages. They save you time and effort getting rid of food waste, and reduce the load on public liquid waste treatment facilities. The disadvantages to having a garbage disposal hooked up to a septic tank are minimal, and usually overstated. While it is possible in theory to overload a septic tank with too much solid waste, causing problems by giving the septic tank more waste than it can process, the truth is that this will rarely occur. A well maintained, well installed, and well planned septic tank that is capable of functioning normally will do fine with a garbage disposal.