Garbage Disposals

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About Garbage Disposals

A quality garbage disposal can make kitchen maintenance so much easier. The best garbage disposals will last you a long time, delivering excellent waste management to your kitchen sink for years. Browse around and research all the various features of our sink garbage disposals and take advantage of the best prices on the web.

What Is a Garbage Disposal?

A disposal unit is a convenient device that allows you to eliminate food waste through your sink. With a motor and blade, the functionality a disposal offers means that no kitchen is complete without it. Disposals can chop up food to sizes smaller than 2 mm, so the particles to pass through the plumbing efficiently. One environmental benefit is that reducing the size of the pieces of food waste allows for quicker biodegradation. Also, many city water systems have established wastewater treatment plants that reuse the wasted food by turning it into fertilizer or using it as an energy source.

The first disposal was invented by John W. Hammes when he was working as an architect in Racine, WI. The invention was in 1927, but he did not receive the patent for his invention until 1935. The first garbage disposal was on the market five years later in 1940. General Electric has attempted to dispute his claim and insists their business invented it in 1935. Hammes still holds the first patent. He went on to build a manufacturing company.

How Does a Garbage Disposal Work?

One of the biggest misconceptions is that not all disposals have blades. Contrary to popular belief, the spinning mechanism on most garbage disposals today does not use a blade. It uses two lugs mounted on a steel plate (they spin in unison). The edge of the inside of the base is jagged, and the food is minced when pushed against the sides while the steel plate whirs. The food is unable to pass through the pipes until it reduces to a size small enough to fit down the drain. Here is a summary of the process:

  1. Food goes into the sink garbage disposal and is spun around on a steel plate.
  2. Lugs that are attached to the steel plate hit the food and cause it to bounce and crash into the sides at a rapid pace.
  3. The jagged sides mince the food.
  4. Once the food is minced small enough, it goes down the drain.

Why You Need a Garbage Disposal

  • It makes your kitchen more hygienic and pleasant since there will be no need for you to put your table scraps or food leftovers in the trash. That prevents bacteria from growing and smelly odors in the trash container from spreading throughout the room.
  • Pests are attracted to food scraps, and if you leave them in the trash can, you are asking for trouble.
  • Disposals offer much easier and quicker post-meal cleanup.
  • Protects your plumbing and saves you money by avoiding costly emergency repairs due to clogged pipes.
  • Is good for the environment as it reduces garbage sent to landfills.
  • With a garbage disposal unit, water waste from your kitchen sink is recycled into energy sources and fertilizer when transferred to the wastewater treatment plant.

Buying Guide

Whether you're buying a disposal for your new home or you just need a replacement for your existing unit, you might find the process overwhelming at first. It's always better to know what's available and to know what to look for in a garbage disposal. This guide will get you started:

Types of Garbage Disposals

  • Batch Feed - As the name suggests, this unit operates in batches, which means that you will have to load the waste in batches into the disposer. If you have a substantial amount of food, you may need to repeat the cycle. They are more expensive and likely bigger than continuous feed models. With this batch feed unit, you don't have to install an electric or air switch.

    Batch feed units can only run with the stopper in place, so you can be confident that it is safe as there will be no chance for any of your utensils dropping into the unit during operation. This feature prevents injury and damage to the machine. The stopper covers the mouth of the unit during the operation to reduce the noise, but if the stopper is misplaced, you cannot start this disposal unit until you find it.

  • Continuous Feed - As the name implies, this feed operates continuously as long as the wall switch is turned on (or the air switch is pressed on). This is probably the best solution for most homeowners. Continuous feed units complete the grinding faster when dealing with a lot of food. You must take the necessary precautions as there is risk involved.

Horse Power Sizes

Garbage disposals offer various ratings for motors, commonly from 1/3 all the way up to 10 HP. How to determine which size is suitable for your home? The answer lies in the total number of people in your household, the amount of waste food you need to get rid of every day, and how often you have to use it. If you have a big family and you regularly cook, you should probably go with a mid-grade motor. You might want to check the dimensions to ensure there is enough space underneath your sink.


Here is a basic overview of the installation process:

  1. Disconnect the power and remove your old garbage disposal (if you have an existing one).
  2. Install the drain fitting and the mounting ring of your new garbage disposal to hold it in place underneath the sink.
  3. Screw the mounting screws (typically three of them) on a rotation to tighten the mounting ring assembly.
  4. Attach the plug-in power cord.
  5. Connect the dishwasher (optional).
  6. Mount the garbage disposal.
  7. Connect the drain lines.
  8. Tighten the rotating cam collar using a screwdriver or a special wrench that comes with the disposal to firmly lock the disposal unit in place.
  9. Check all connections for leaks by turning the water on and letting it run through the disposal. Turn on the disposal and run it while flushing water and some organic things through the drain to make sure that it's working as expected.

To get some more ideas, feel free to watch this short installation video by West Harris.


One tip is to drop some ice cubes down the drain and chop them up now and then. This will help to keep the impeller blade sharp. Baking soda or lemons are a great way to freshen up the smell of your sink.

How to Use a Garbage Disposal

  • Turn ON the tap for a steady stream of water flowing down the sink drain.
  • Drop all the food scraps you want to discard into the garbage disposal.
  • Turn ON the switch for the unit.
  • The machine will grind your food into tiny particles and then flush them down the drain, moving all the way into a wastewater treatment plant where it recycles into energy sources and fertilizer.

More about Their Origin

The garbage disposal was invented as a way to reduce municipal food waste because food scraps that decompose in landfills have been shown to generate methane gas. Because of a lack of understanding, for a long time, cities banned the installation or use of sink garbage disposals. Due to many efforts by manufacturers such as Waste King, InSinkErator, and Whirlaway their use in residential homes is now more prominent. As of 2009, fifty percent of households had working disposal units.

Find the Best Garbage Disposals Online

There are many different varieties of garbage disposals for sale here at if you have questions in regards to what model is right for you do not hesitate to contact or call and ask one of our friendly customer service representatives for help deciding! Brands include:

  • InSinkErator
  • Moen
  • Waste King
  • and more!

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