There’s quite a bit of debate around what is safe to dump down the garbage disposals. Some folks recommend certain practices, while others are adamant doing so will wreck the appliance. While the debate circles around several topics, what food scraps you can and can’t put down the disposal is a central focal point.
So, today’s question: Can you put banana peels down the garbage disposal? This question receives mixed responses, so let’s take a look at the specifics.
Can You Put Peels In The Garbage Disposal?
Some websites claim bananas are perfectly safe garbage disposal items, while others argue the peels will wreak havoc on the machine. So, which one is it? Well, the truth is, both can be right, but it depends on the scenario.
Some heavy-duty garbage disposals will blaze through banana peels without any hiccups. However, other garbage disposals, especially lower horsepower units found in residential settings, might struggle to work through the peels.
Banana peels are fibrous, which can pose a problem for the disposal. In some scenarios, the peels can get wrapped up around the impellers, causing all sorts of issues. Or, let’s say the peels do make it past the garbage disposal, but the stringy bits aren’t ground as well as they should be.
In this case, there’s a good chance the leftovers could stick to or get hung up in the drain pipes beyond the disposal. The high fiber content makes it tough for the disposal to grind the peels into minuscule pieces, which could send larger chunks down the disposal.
How Do You Dispose Of Banana Peels?
Even though bananas aren’t always a garbage-disposal-safe food, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to throw them in the trash. There are a few more environmentally friendly ways to get rid of the yellow peels.
If you have a compost pile, this is a great place to put discarded banana peels. The peels are considered a green material, which essentially means they’re rich in nitrogen. You can mix the peels with carbon-rich brown materials. Your plants will thank you!
Another option, if you don’t have a compost pile but have a garden, is to use the peels to ward away aphids. Most gardeners are all too familiar with the pests and are regularly looking for a great way to get rid of aphids and keep them gone. Chop the banana peels into small pieces, then tuck a few right under the surface of the soil.
This is a great way to keep aphids away and benefits your garden.
If you have animals or live out of town, you can feed the peels to animals in your area. Before you leave them out for the animals, make sure to wash them to remove pesticide residues, then grind them up and leave them out.
The trash is always an option if you don’t have a compost pile, garden, or animals. Rotting banana peels will attract bugs, so make sure you take out the trash shortly after disposing of the peels (if you live in an area with a lot of bugs).
What Food Scraps Are Garbage Disposal Safe?
Many foods are garbage disposal friendly, but it’s good to familiarize yourself with the list of dos and don’ts, just to be on the safe side. Foods that are generally garbage disposal safe include:
- Leftover wet, canned cat/dog food
- Small citrus rinds
- Small bones, like tiny fish or chicken bones
- Cooked meat scraps
- Most fruits and veggies, excluding fibrous items
These foods shouldn’t cause any issues with your garbage disposal. Of course, if there’s a blockage in the disposal or drain already, these food scraps will probably get caught anyway. However, if the garbage disposal functions normally, these food scraps are perfectly safe to send down the drain.
What Foods Can’t Go Down The Garbage Disposal?
A clogged garbage disposal (or plumbing) is an absolute nightmare, especially if it leads to a backup in the sink. Then, you can’t wash dishes or really do much with the sink until the water is emptied.
So, to avoid a clogged drainpipe or garbage disposal, here are a few things that shouldn’t go down the drain:
- Fibrous fruits and veggies, like pumpkin innards, corn husks, asparagus, celery, etc.
- Fruit pits
- Grease, oil, or fat
- Coffee grounds
- Nuts and shells
- Potato peels
- Pasta, rice, and bread
- Onion skin and layers
- Large bones
The reason behind the cautionary label on these items is pretty self-explanatory, but let’s review. Fibrous fruits and veggies can get caught around the impellers, and fruit pits, nuts, shells, and large bones tend to be extremely hard and don’t break down in the disposal. Coffee grounds can form a thick paste when mixed with water, which can catch in the drain.
Grease, fat, and oil can solidify in the drain, and potato peels are starchy and can get hung up on the sides of the canister or plumbing. Pasta, rice, and bread absorb water, making them swell in the drain, potentially causing a clog. Lastly, onion skins and eggshells (the membrane inside the shell) can get tangled around the impellers.