Garbage disposers are also called garbage disposals or waste disposers, some other names are also used but they are less common. The garbage disposer is a simple device that shreds food waste into small pieces so they don’t get stuck in the plumbing. The idea behind the garbage disposer is to limit the amount food waste that ends up in landfills. But if garbage disposals are environmentally friendly or not is often hotly debated.
Food waste is a huge environmental problem, although it is not as well known as many other environmental problems. The problem is that a lot of food waste end up in landfills and when it rots it produces methane, a greenhouse gas. Given the huge amount of food that is thrown away each and every day, the problem has been around for a long a time and it is just getting worse.
One possible solution is the garbage disposer. By using garbage disposals, food waste is transported via the sewer system to a waste water treatment plant. Where the food waste can be converted into biogas. But not all waste water treatment plants are capable of converting food waste into biogas and the food waste also increases the strain on the sewer systems.
Although a garbage disposer is a very simple device, not all garbage disposals are equal. First, there are two types of disposers, batch feed and continuous feed. Batch feed models are safer, they only operate if the lid is closed. This makes it impossible to injure fingers that are in the grinding chamber. But continuous feed models are more convenient to use. You don’t need to close the lid, a continuous feed disposer starts as soon as there is something on its way to the grinding chamber. Nowadays, almost all garbage disposers are continuous feed disposers.
Typically, garbage disposals don’t require any ongoing maintenance. The main problem is jamming which occurs when you put in too much tough food waste at the same time into the disposer or put something into the disposers that it can not grind. Good garbage disposers have anti-jamming features which minimize the risk of jamming. Most waste disposers have a hole in the bottom which makes it possible by using an Allen wrench to move the impellers in the grinding chambers backwards. This often clears the jam and is much more convenient than trying to clear the jam from above.
Some people recommended throwing a couple ice cubes into the garbage disposer on a regular basis, for example once a week. This keeps the grinding chamber clean. Some claim that this also sharpens the impellers in the grinding chamber but that is just a myth. If you are going to flush the disposer with water, use cold water. Hot water melts fat which could solidify further down and block the drain. If you have problems with annoying odors. You may want to put some citrus or orange peels into the disposal. It is an easy way to get rid of odors.
The first decision you need to make when you are buying a garbage disposer is how powerful is should be. Powerful disposers are more expensive but faster and the risk of jamming is smaller. The most powerful garbage disposers are the 1 HP models followed by the 0.75 HP models. If you have plenty of food waste or tough food waste, you should consider buying a 1 HP or 0.75 HP garbage disposal. For small households with very little tough food waste, a 0.5 HP model is the standard recommendation. You can also find 0.33 HP waste disposers but they are seldom much cheaper than the 0.5 HP models. Given that a modern garbage disposer has an expected lifetime of more than ten years, it often does not make sense to try to save a couple of dollars by buying a too small disposer.
Most garbage disposers have an inlet which makes it possible to connect a dishwasher. Just make sure that you remove the knockout plug before connecting your dishwasher. This is easy to do, all you need are a hammer and a screwdriver.
For garbage disposers, fibrous vegetables cause most of the problems. Vegetables such as asparagus, artichokes and celery are stringy vegetables which can not be shredded into small pieces. Typically, they end up as strings which wrap themselves around the moving parts in the grinding chamber. The compost if often a better destination for fibrous vegetables than the garbage disposer.