When we remodeled our kitchen last year, we decided not to install a garbage disposal. Sure, it's a quick way to get rid of potato peels or that forgotten container of leftovers, but do you really need one?
Garbage disposals use water to help grind food into small pieces. Not only does this increase your own personal water consumption, but these small pieces then become part of the wastewater system which often requires even more water to get it to the treatment plant. Composting food scraps is one easy solution and there is no shortage of stylish storage pails. If you already have a garbage disposal, consider uninstalling it (and gain more space under your sink!). If you're in a rental or want to leave it in place, make sure you use a good sink strainer so food doesn't go down the drain and sit in an unused disposal. It doesn't take long to get used to diverting food from the sink and best of all, you'll never have to worry about reaching your hand down the drain to retrieve that mangled fork!