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What Are Garbage Disposals Used For?

heavy duty what are garbage disposal used for

While it is unlikely that you have never heard of garbage disposals and what they are used for, there are a few people who don’t know what garbage disposals are and what they are used for.

The function of a garbage disposal is not so complicated; they are needed to grind food waste into smaller pieces so that they can pass easily through the plumbing.

They are typically powered by electricity and are fitted between the sink drain and the trap under the kitchen sink.

The garbage disposal was invented back in 1927 and since then, it has become a very necessary device to have in different homes.

Garbage disposals make waste disposal an easier and more hygienic process.

As long as the waste is biodegradable, you can put it through a garbage disposal so that it can be broken down and washed away.

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After knowing what garbage disposals are used for, there are some other things you should also know about.

That is why in this article, we will also talk about how a garbage disposal works and things you should/shouldn’t put in a garbage disposal.

How a garbage disposal works

inside how it works what are garbage disposal used for

A garbage disposal works by the means of an electric motor and is designed to take food waste from the sink into a grinding chamber.

In the grinding chamber, a spinning disc will throw the food waste against the wall of the grinding chamber breaking the waste down into smaller bits.

The broken down waste will then be washed away by water coming in through the chamber wall.

For more information on what type of garbage disposal is best for you, check out my article here reviewing the best garbage disposal units.

Most of the garbage disposal models on the market come with a something known as a splashguard.

This splash guard is a partial rubber closure and it is installed so that the food waste doesn’t come back out of the grinding chamber.

In some models of garbage disposal, the splash guard also functions to reduce the noise coming from the device.

There are two types of garbage disposals – continuous feed and batch feed garbage disposals.

Continuous feed garbage disposals are more common that the batch feed garbage disposals, however, they are not as safe.

With the continuous feed option, you can turn the device on before feeding the waste into the disposal.

On the other hand, you have to put the waste into batch feed garbage disposals before you can start them.

It is not totally impossible for waste disposals to jam, however, there are several things put in place to clear and unjam them.

The motor can be manually turned by inserting a hex-key wretch into the motor shaft or the turntable can be manually forced to turn from above.

There are sophisticated models of garbage disposals that come with jam sensors and automatic reversing jam clearing features.

If you can afford these high-end garbage disposals, you should go for them, additional features like jam sensors and reversing jam clearing will make your garbage disposal very easy.

What you can put into a garbage disposal

There is a rule you can follow to always know what is safe to put in a garbage disposal.

If something is not biodegradable, do not put it in the garbage disposal.

This means that only biodegradable waste should go through garbage disposals.

Let’s look at some of the food waste that are safe to put into a garbage disposal.

  • Bones

As long as it is a few bones that are small in size, they are safe to put in the garbage disposals.

If you have huge bones to dispose, you may want to think twice before putting the garbage disposal as they can cause the device to jam.

The power of your electric motor will also determine if your garbage disposal can take bones or not.

  • Fruits scrap

It is entirely safe to put fruits scrap through garbage disposals.

Interestingly, they help in cleaning and freshening garbage disposals.

  • Vegetable scrap

It is also safe to put vegetable scrap into garbage disposals.

Nevertheless, you should not put vegetables that are too fibrous into garbage disposals.

Vegetables like asparagus and artichokes are fibrous and tough, and they may affect the disposal blades.

  • Coffee grounds

In small quantities, it is totally safe to put coffee grounds through garbage disposals.

They can block the pipes if you dispose them in large quantities. Coffee grounds will also improve the smell of your disposal.

What you can’t put into a garbage disposal

There are a few exceptions to the biodegradable rule.

There are food waste that should not put disposed through garbage disposals even though they are biodegradable.

Here are some things you shouldn’t put in a garbage disposal.

  • Big bones

It is totally safe to put small bones into garbage disposals.

When the bones are big, it may not be the brightest idea to do so.

There are very powerful garbage disposals that can take big bones but to prevent jamming, use another means of disposal for big bones.

  • Banana peels

Banana peels are very fibrous and shouldn’t be put into garbage disposals as they can negatively affect the disposal blades.

  • Fibrous vegetables

Fibrous and tough vegetable scraps should be disposed in the compost.

When disposed through the garbage disposal continuously, they will eventually damage the disposal blades.

  • Grease

It is not only grease you shouldn’t put in your garbage disposal.

Any high fat substance should not be put into garbage disposals.

They may get past the grinding compartment but eventually, your pipes will be blocked by the fat.

  • Shells

While you can dispose small bones in garbage disposals, it is advisable not to put any type of shell into your garbage disposals.

Some shell are too tough while some produce offensive odor.


If you have heard about garbage disposals and don’t know exactly what they are used for, enough has been discussed above.

Garbage disposals are most common in the United States of America, in other places though, they are not so widely accepted.

If you ever purchase or encounter one, you have enough information about how they function, things you can out in them, and things you cannot put in them.