If they can put a man on the moon--and add wi-fi to our thermostats--why can't they build a 'composter-friendly' under-sink disposal?

I'd love a disposal that could send the ground up 'solid waste' to a bucket for easy transport to a compost heap and send water down the drain. Does anyone make this? Why not?

Ideally, good design/engineering would minimize mess and overflow (e.g. with some type of gasket) , alert you when the 'compost bucket' needs emptying, work correctly if the bucket was full/etc.

I see the following advantages:

  • disposal cuts food waste into small, quick to decompose size
  • disposal would co-mingle all waste foods into a "compost slurry"--mixing leftover food scraps with banana peels and orange rinds--rendering it inedible to pests
  • allow the low-green/high-"ick" household residents to have a consistent means for disposing food waste. (i.e. in my household, one resident gets "grossed out" by having a compost bucket near the kitchen. she would just use the disposal and not have to worry about it).

I would loveto have something like this in our house and would appreciate any insights.


closed as not constructive by shirlock homes, BMitch, Niall C., Tester101, Karl Katzke Jan 10 '12 at 2:48

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  • the Moon landing was a hoax anyway. – Trout Jan 10 '12 at 0:47
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    NASA had a much larger R&D budget. – Tester101 Jan 10 '12 at 1:16
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    Wrong site. See Skeptics.StackExchange – LarsTech Jan 10 '12 at 1:23
  • Voted to close -- this isn't a good question for this site. You might consider suggesting it to area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/33364/sustainable-living or another site that is more focused on environmental matters. – Karl Katzke Jan 10 '12 at 2:50
  • Get stronger worms, excepting Avocado skins which they don't seem to like, everything else is eaten up and ground down, I've even caught them crawling out of holes they've eaten into Kale stalks. Low tech, high e for teh greens... – Fiasco Labs Dec 21 '13 at 3:29

While this would have real potential if you could do it, as there are many people who do seriously get into composting (I am one who does try), it has some problems.

The main problem is how do you separate the water from the solids, while leaving it at least slightly wet. Compost needs some water content, and if you pack the solids too densely it won't decompose easily. You would almost need to re-hydrate the solids for them to be composted if you remove too much water.

So, how do you remove the water? I can see a few ways.

  • Filter it out. But any sieve that has holes in it that will allow water to drain out, but holds back most of the solids will get clogged too fast.
  • Squeeze it out, using some sort of trash compactor design. Again, one would need to work it out where the water goes, and then deal with the solids in an automatic way.
  • Centrifugal action, so something like a washing machine spin cycle.

Any of these schemes need to remove just enough water, but not all of it. It is not an easy problem to solve.

What we do, that seems to work, is leave a 5 gallon bucket in the garage. When we have kitchen waste, veggie peelings, etc., they go into the bucket. Every few days, I walk down to the compost pile with the bucket and a pitchfork and turn it over, adding the new material. This works quite well. (Another major part of our compost pile is shredded paper from our paper shredder, plus shredded leaf waste.)

This is a low tech solution that works splendidly well. Yes, some of the material would compost faster if it went through a disposal grinding process, but low tech often has advantages.

  • It is cheap.
  • It never needs repair. (Ok, some days my back hurts.)
  • No electricity required.
  • It gives me some exercise, never a bad thing.
  • It forces me to go out and turn over the pile once a week or more. This gets air into the pile, as well as tending to keep it free of animals due to the frequent activity (who would otherwise wish to nest in the pile.)
  • Bucket into the middle of the heap, keep a strong heap so it's warm year round = Angle worms, earth worms and snakes. Not much left of that bucket of waste in a warm heap after a month due to the worms, the snakes eat the crickets. – Fiasco Labs Dec 21 '13 at 3:33

think about how that would work:

  1. it would need to grind up compost and be easy to clean/not likely to jam up
  2. it would need to separate the solid ground-up compost from the water (not easy)
  3. it would need a path to the compost heap (even if only a sent-proof container that would need to be emptied out regularly)

you are welcome to design and patent one yourself though

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