Early in my tenure as an environmental stewardship manager for a large production builder, I suggested a green feature that would actually reduce the base cost to build a home. The response to my suggestion was stunningly negative. The room filled with chuckles and head wagging along with stiffening body language from construction managers.
What I had said was, “If our base home did not include a garbage disposal, the home’s green score would be higher.”
Why is a green score higher without a garbage disposal? Organic matter going down the drain into public sewer system will require increased amounts of water, chemicals and energy to treat. If it is going to a septic system, the organics cause a more rapid buildup of scum and sludge layers according to the EPA.
My naiveté in the realm of warranty call back was glaringly evident to the construction managers. Apparently there is an entire generation of home dwellers who are unaware that one cannot send food scraps down the drain without first grinding them up. One of the main reasons for new home warranty call back is operator error caused by clogged drains in homes that have no disposal.
If you have a garbage disposal, the goal for a greener lifestyle is to use the disposal sparingly and compost all vegetation scraps. (Did you get the part about don't put food scraps down the drain if you have no disposal?)
Here is a good article from Consumer Reports on this topic: