A recent example: throwing food down the drain. Are this question and others about properly disposing of food waste on topic?


Yes. This is essentially an equipment and cleaning question. Equipment is mentioned in our top-level site scope as being on topic. Cleaning is a common topic in its own right, as evidenced by the 146 questions tagged [cleaning], and often intersects with equipment. And of course, properly disposing of food waste is an integral part of cooking - it's nearly impossible to cook without doing this - so it makes sense that it's part of our scope.

A great example of a well-accepted previous question in this vein is What's the proper way to dispose of used fats & oils?. The recent one about food down the drain isn't as well-written, and it's phrased more as "how do pipes work?" instead of "what should I put down the drain?", but it's a similar kind of question, and is no less on topic.

  • If it is on topic--which as phrased and answered I don't think it is (see my own meta answer)--then it is clearly a duplicate of the question you have linked, and should be closed as a duplicate accordingly. – SAJ14SAJ Mar 12 '14 at 22:27
  • @SAJ14SAJ No it's not, it's about all food, not just oil. – Cascabel Mod Mar 12 '14 at 22:28

No, it is not on topic.

It is NOT essentially a cleaning and equipment question. If it were, it comes down to "what are the proper methods to dispose of the waste" or "what types of waste is it permissible to dispose of down the drain", either of which would be on topic.

However, what it is asking is why is it or is not appropriate to put things down the drain, which is a question of how the sewer system works, and local regulations. That is not a culinary question.

The only answer so far does not contain any culinary or kitchen management information--it is all about what happens in the pipes and sewer system, which is not in my opinion on topic.

  • If you can ask "what should I do?" you can ask "...and why should I do it?". The question asks "can I just put it all down the drain?" then goes on to speculate about why the answer should be yes. The answer is in fact "no", and providing some "why" is what we do. – Cascabel Mod Mar 12 '14 at 22:28
  • @Jefromi If you accept that arugment, its clearly a dup and should be closed then. – SAJ14SAJ Mar 12 '14 at 22:28
  • And I don't accept that why is always ontopic, when what you get is a two page essay on sewer stuff, with nothing culinary in it. This is not the information this site is supposed to be expert in answering. – SAJ14SAJ Mar 12 '14 at 22:29
  • I did not claim that Joe's answer was the best possible answer. A lot of the stuff in there is pretty divergent from "what should I put down the sink?" – Cascabel Mod Mar 12 '14 at 22:29
  • I did edit the question to make it a little clearer. It's asking if it is acceptable to put all food waste down the drain, which is very very similar to the "what types of waste can I put down the drain?" question you say is on topic. – Cascabel Mod Mar 12 '14 at 22:31
  • If I asked why a shiny pan bakes slower than a dark pan, and the answer is "it reflects the infrared more, and so cooks less", that is an appropriate and on topic question and answer. IF I ask why that is true, then I am asking a physics question which should be answered by physicists. This case is analogous, and should be answered by water treatment professionals, whatever those are called, not by cooks. – SAJ14SAJ Mar 12 '14 at 22:32
  • Again, this question is about all food (e.g. vegetable trimmings). The previous referenced question is just about oil/grease. – Cascabel Mod Mar 12 '14 at 22:39
  • @Jefromi Sorry, I read it again, and you may not have noticed my deleting those comments. I still don't think it is a good quesiton (it had 4 close votes before this discussion, so some people agree) but I will give a better answer in case it stays alive. – SAJ14SAJ Mar 12 '14 at 22:40
  • I think you underestimate how much impact it has for a high-rep user to state that it's off-topic, especially when the question is written poorly and contains some obviously false speculation like this one. – Cascabel Mod Mar 12 '14 at 22:41
  • Hm okay! I did have a go at it too cooking.stackexchange.com/a/42709/1672 – Cascabel Mod Mar 12 '14 at 22:42
  • Beat me to it, and while I still think it is a bad question, your answer is a far better answer. – SAJ14SAJ Mar 12 '14 at 22:44
  • let us continue this discussion in chat – SAJ14SAJ Mar 12 '14 at 22:45
  • @Jefromi : I debated talking about type 1 vs. type 2 settling, and biotowers vs. filters, but most people likely don't know what type of sewage treatment plant their wastewater gets sent to. Most people don't even know when they're on a combined sewer system. (ps. did I ever mention that I had to take two semesters of water treatment classes for my undergrad degree?) – Joe Mar 13 '14 at 19:49

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