First things first, what is a garbage disposal? Well, a garbage disposal or garburator in Canadian English, is a device below a sink that shreds food products so the waste can be easily passed through plumbing. Using a garbage disposal is an efficient way to dispose, no pun intended, of food waste that would ultimately be put in a traditional garbage receptacle emitting odors into your kitchen.
Where did the Garbage Disposal come from?
The first garbage disposal was invented in 1927 by John W. Hammes, who was an architect from Wisconsin. After achieving his patent on the product in 1935, his InSinkErator disposal system started coming into households nationwide in 1940. However not all municipalities approved of his product. In New York City for example, there was a ban placed on garbage disposals. They were thought to harm the city’s water and sewer system. It wasn’t until 1997 that the ban was lifted after an inspection and approval from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. By today’s standards, garbage disposals are very common and now used in over 50% of households.
The Basic Do’s and Do Not’s of a Disposal
The DO NOT’s
Not everything can be processed by a garbage disposal. Here is a list of forbidden items that should never be put down the disposal.
- Food items that are too hard or fibrous!
o Shells from Eggs or Shellfish. Shells grind down into a fine powder in a disposal system and end up clogging the pipes.
o Potato peels, celery fibers, banana peels, artichokes
o Onion peels! They can wrap around the shredder in the disposal.
o Fruit Pits from peaches or avocados
o BONES! Bones are much too dense to be broken up and passed through the system.
o Corn Cobs
o Large Quantities of coffee grounds or filters
o Un-popped popcorn kernels
-All of these food items are easily compostable or should be placed in the traditional garbage.
- Non-Food items (Trash)
o Plant or flowers stems and leaves
o Cigarette butts
o Anything plastic or paper
o Fabrics, sponges, or rags
o GREASE! Grease should under no circumstances ever make its way down the disposal system. Yes, when it goes down the drain it is in liquid form, but the grease will cool and harden in the pipes creating a detrimental block to the system.
o Your hands. Never put your hands down the disposal from the sink to fix a block or to retrieve an item.
So what can go down the disposal? Well….
The DO’s Soft Texture Items
- Only soft texture food items should pass through an InSinkerator, especially if you live in a residence that is higher than the third floor.
Tips for maintaining a properly running Garbage Disposal
- Always run cold (not hot) water while you are processing anything through the disposal system. Keep the water running at least 30 seconds after putting items down the disposal to ensure all the waste has passed and the water will also keep your system from overheating.
- You can put some ice cubes down the disposal once in a while. Some believe that ice will help sharpen the shredder, although it does not, it does clear any debris that might be stuck on the blades.
- Once a month, fill your basin with HOT water from the tap. Allow it to run until you cannot withstand the temperature by touch. 2/3 the rim plate flush. Add 1/3 gallon of bleach. Fill the remainder of the basin with HOT water to the rim. With protective gloves, reach for the drain stopper to release the water and turn your InSinkerator on at the same time. This will allow the bleach to circulate by centrifugal force, and clean the InSinkerator of all living bacteria causing smell.
- If you tend to have habits of putting larger items into your sink, CUT EVERYTHING DOWN TO SMALLER PIECES! Or, better yet, place items directly in the trash to ensure items can be easily passed through the disposal, it is fundamental items are small in size.
Before ever attempting a home repair or clear a blockage in the garbage disposal, ALWAYS read the manual provided from the manufacturer. If there is any doubt, call a professional such as your Team at Aquaduct Plumbing Services