Garbage Disposal Vs Trash Can – An Infographic Comparison

Garbage disposal or trash can; which is a better choice?

The question of whether you should put your food waste into the trash can or the garbage disposal has been going on forever.

Several studies were conducted in the past years about the environmental impacts of garbage disposals and landfills. I condensed the findings of those studies and some of my own observations into the following infographic.

My verdict;

Garbage disposals are more environmentally friendly whereas trash cans are more convenient and cheaper.

Garbage disposal vs trash can

Garbage disposals


  • Garbage disposals are greener than trash cans. Fewer wastes to landfill mean lesser production of greenhouse gases.
  • It doesn’t dispose of plastic or paper materials
  • No means of transportation of the wastes is necessary as the food wastes are ground and directly discharged to the septic system or sewage.
  • A more hygienic option as food waste doesn’t rot in a can.


  • It takes time and patience to put all those bits of food into the garbage disposal
  • Installing a garbage disposal costs around $400, not to mention the running and maintenance costs.
  • Chances of clogging and part failure.
  • The average life of a garbage disposal is around 12 years only whereas a trash can lasts much longer.

Trash cans


  • Fast and convenient to dispose of food waste.
  • Low initial costs. Even the best trash cans are available for under $50.
  • Zero or negligible maintenance costs.
  • Lasts much longer than a garbage disposal.
  • No clogging issues


  • The wastes from trash cans are dumped into landfills where it decomposes creating Methane gas, that is 21x more potent than carbon dioxide, which traps heat in the atmosphere.
  • Large amounts of plastic and paper are used to make garbage bags for trash cans.
  • Garbage trucks used to transport cause costs as well as pollution.
  • Trash cans are less hygienic than garbage disposals.

As you can see; there are lots of pros and cons for both of them, but from an environmental point of view, garbage disposals win hands down.

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