Are garbage disposal units in sinks a good idea?
Garbage disposal units have not been standard equipment in Icelandic kitchens to date. Most people have come across them abroad and a few companies now sell them here in Iceland. There are contrasting views on their impact on the sewage system and the environment, but most of the evidence seems to indicate that these units are not suitable for Icelandic sinks.
The sewage system in Iceland is not designed to take a vast amount of scraps of food. In addition to the harm the scraps do to the pipes, due to the changes in acidity levels they cause, they increase the strain on pumping and sewage treatment plants with a consequent increase in maintenance and costs. A substantial amount of fat goes with the food that is fed into the garbage disposal units, but the fat then accumulates and blocks the pipes. It should not be forgotten that scraps of food in the sewage system will attract mice and rats wherever they can find access.
Food scraps are best recycled into compost, either at home or through the municipal refuse collection service. Many of these services have specific areas for organic waste and use it for the production of both fertilizers and fuel.
Veitur Utilities therefore does not recommend that people use garbage disposal units in their kitchen sinks and concurs with the Reykjavik Health authorities who completely oppose their use.