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My current home has the kitchen adjoining to the garage. Most of the really smelly garbage is generated in the kitchen. The big garbage can and recycling bins live in the garage.

Is there an appropriate sealed, insulated chute or hatch that would let me just toss my waste directly into the big can in the garage instead of a small can in the kitchen? It seems like something McMaster-Carr would have.

Is this governed by any national (US) or regional codes? Any concerns or code issues with having a flap opening to a garage space instead of a living space (CO, car smells, etc.)?

This would free up some kitchen space by not having to have a separate garbage can in the kitchen. It would save time since that can would not have to be emptied. It could save time sorting garbage if multiple chutes are used for recycling. It should make the kitchen more pleasant as the really stinky garbage would be in the garage and not in the house.

Any general thoughts on this idea?

Any suggestions for alternatives, like maybe an insulated dog door if something like an insulated hatch doesn't exist?

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The chute would get dirty and stinky, but if you could overcome that I would say it sounds like a good idea. –  Tester101 Jan 17 '11 at 17:18
    
Would a plastic like UHMW or a teflon surface help? –  Freiheit Jan 17 '11 at 18:30
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Most of the stinky in my kitchen is from rotting food scraps. The humanure folks use sawdust to control smell. So: get a 5 gallon bucket, and put 2" of sawdust on the bottom. Whenever you have food scraps, dump them in, then add a handful of sawdust. This goes in the compost pile when it's full. –  Jay Bazuzi Jan 17 '11 at 19:27
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This might be a good option for recycling, but I'm not sure it would work for food scraps. The chute would have to be cleaned constantly to prevent food from building up on it, which would be more work than throwing your trash directly in a can in the garage. –  Tester101 Jan 17 '11 at 19:46
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4 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I personally wouldn't do it. Even if you could find a suitable hatch, you'd need a good way to clean it out regularly. When I lived in an apartment complex with a hatch, it was foul; it was bad enough that they'd spray for bugs every 3-4 months, and in the process, drive the bugs into other apartments (and mine was right next to the chute ... so make sure, when renting an apartment, take that into consideration).

I'd be afraid that if the chute went straight outside, that bugs would eventually use the route to come up into your home, particularly of any food trimmings were to smear themelves on the chute or hatch.

If you were to connect it to a garage, I'd be concerned with fumes coming into the house. At a bare minimum, I'd make sure to have a CO monitor inside the kitchen, but I'd think that car exhaust would get in, too, and might make for a less than pleasant effect on your food.

I'd also look to fire codes in your area -- you're not allowed to have open holes between floors in many areas, because it'll allow fire to spread more quickly. (never mind that you have to vent toilets ... but you then have to fill gaps on the holes those vents run through).

...

For non-meat or dairy food scraps, you can also get kitchen compost bins which have a charcoal filter on top ... so you can stash your trimmings under the sink, and then empty it less frequently. The only real problem are meat scraps; yes, you can put them down a garbage disposal, but it's not ideal as it puts a greater load on the sewage treatement plant; also, it won't work if you have a septic system, and still won't provide a good solution for bones.

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If the majority of the smell comes from food scraps, have you considered a heavy duty garbage disposal? It would probably be cheaper and still reduce the smell.

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Note: disposals are not legal in all areas (sewer companies get too much debris). –  Bryce Nov 25 '13 at 11:20
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A garage will frequently have fire rated drywall, a vapor barrier, and insulation. The fire rated drywall prevents fires in the garage from roasting your home before the fire dept can get there (1 hour). The vapor barrier prevents exhaust fumes (CO) from getting into your home from any cars. And the insulation is because the garage is an unheated space. I'm pretty sure most of this is by code, and even if it isn't, you want to have it. When you put a hole in the wall, all of this is compromised, so the door would need a 1 hour burn time, insulation, and a vapor seal that is continuous with the existing vapor barrier. Anything you can get that would fulfill those requirements is likely to be very unattractive in a kitchen. Not to mention, you'd end up with a smelly open trash can in your garage (rodent attractor), and a trash chute that needs to be cleaned.

So, if you haven't guessed already, I'd recommend against it.

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Just do it!! Don't let the neigh-sayers ruin it. It can be a fun little project.

Use a tilting door built into the wall of the kitchen or to replace a cabinet, use a spring loaded hinge so that it closes by itself (it could look like a normal cabinet door). Use a sufficiently large aluminum duct (like for HVAC) to act as the cute and position a bottomless plastic trashcan in the top of the chute so that, from the kitchen, you can insert a bag to accumulate the debris throughout the day (and this keep the chute clean), then when you want to release it just loosen the bag (tie or leave untied) and let it drop. To address possible fumes and fire rating issues, just use a wooden door at the chute bottom with a couple layers of sheet rock on the inside to increase the fire-rating to 1-hr burn (look up how many sheets, thickness) and again use a spring-loaded hinge that closes it, it will open when a bag of garbage drops onto it (put a handle on the outside of the trap door so you can open easily in case there is something not heavy enough to have triggered it on garbage day). There is no requirement it be hermetically sealed, weatherstripping around the end of the chute around the door would be sufficient (often doors to garages, even fire-rated doors, are not perfectly sealed.)

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