Ring Witch

by admin on July 15, 2008

Ring Witch

Ring Witch

Garbage disposal


The garbage disposal was invented in 1927 by John W. Hammes. He was an architect working in Racine, Wisconsin. After eleven years of development, his InSinkErator company put his disposer on the market in 1938.

In many cities in the United States in the 1930s and the 1940s the municipal sewage system had regulations prohibiting running food waste (garbage) into the system. InSinkErator spent considerable effort, and was highly successful in convincing many localities to rescind these prohibitions. Many localities mandated the use of disposers. For many years, garbage disposals were illegal in New York City because of a perceived threat of damage to the city's sewer system. After a 21-month study with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, the ban was rescinded in 1997 by local law 1997/071 which amended section 24-518.1, NYC Administrative code. In 2008, the city of Raleigh, North Carolina attempted a ban on the replacement and installation of garbage disposals which also extended to outlying towns sharing the city's municipal sewage system, but rescinded the ban one month later.

Garbage disposal units became popular in American kitchens in the 1970s and 1980s. In the U.S. 47% of homes had disposal units as of 2007, but in the United Kingdom this was only 6%.

Geographical extent

Garbage disposal units are widely used in North American households, but far less commonly used elsewhere. In nations with ready access to water and an industrial base, these devices are generally permitted.

In Sweden, some municipalities encourage the installation of disposers so as to increase the production of biogas. Some local authorities in Britain subsidise the purchase of garbage disposal units in order to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

The rationale for garbage disposals

Food scraps range from 10% to 20% of household waste, and are a problematic component of municipal waste, creating public health, sanitation and environmental problems at each step, beginning with internal storage and followed by truck-based collection. Burned in waste-to-energy facilities, the high water-content of food scraps does not generate energy; buried in landfills (a method now abolished in the EU), food scraps decompose and generate methane gas, which is a highly potent greenhouse gas, initially 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and after many years breaking down to carbon dioxide and water.

The premise behind the proper use of a disposal is to effectively regard food scraps as liquid (averaging 70% water, like human waste), and utilize existing infrastructure (underground sewers and wastewater treatment plants) for its management. Modern wastewater plants are effective at processing organic solids into fertilizer products (known as biosolids), with advanced facilities also capturing methane for energy production.


The parts of a garbage disposal.

A high-torque, insulated electric motor, usually rated at 200750 watts ( to 1 horsepower) for a domestic unit, spins a circular turntable mounted horizontally above it. Induction motors rotate at 1,4001,800 rpm and have low starting torque; commutator motors rotate at higher speeds (about 2,800 rpm), have high starting torque, and are usually lighter. However commutator motors are noisier than induction motors, partially due to the higher speeds and partially because the commutator brushes rub on the slotted armature. The higher starting torque of those appliances with a permanent magnet motor secures in most cases that there will be no blockage.

The added weight and size of induction motors might be of concern. Many models have some degree of sound insulation.

The turntable is surrounded by a shredder ring, which has sharp slots. The food waste sits on the turntable and through centrifugal force is forced to its perimeter and through the shredder ring. The turntable has a number of swiveling lugsimilar to little hammers attached to its topsidehich assist in forcing the waste through the shredder. Except for special models, most of the food waste disposers do not have any sharp blades or scissors.

A garbage disposal from above; the grinding chamber can be seen when it is removed from the sink.

Waste is fed into a chamber above the turntable and drops on the turntable. The chamber may have a rubber partial closure through which waste can be pushed without letting cutlery and other objects fall in, but essentially the chamber is open at the top, and there is access to the turntable. This is useful in the case of a jam: The turntable can be forced round by pushing with a wooden spoon handle or similar object until the jam clears. Waste that cannot be ground successfully can be removed manually.

Most units are of the continuous-feed type, allowing waste to be added as the unit runs. Batch-feed models are also available with a lid that must be locked before operation, making it impossible to run the machine when a user is trying to clear a jam by hand and preventing cutlery, etc. from falling in.

Some commercial and high-end domestic disposals also have an undercutter blade that revolves below the turntable and chops the ground waste, including fibrous material which could cause a drain clog, finer. These disposals can handle fibrous waste such as artichoke leaves that cannot be successfully ground in a standard disposal.

Waste disposal units may jam but can usually be cleared either by forcing the turntable round from above or by turning the motor using a hex-key wrench inserted into the motor shaft from below. Very hard objects accidentally or deliberately introduced, such as metal cutlery, can damage the waste disposal unit and become damaged themselves. More problematic are drain blockages caused by shredded waste that is fibrous (artichoke leaves) or starchy (potato peelings).

Some higher-end units have automatic reversing. By using a slightly more-complicated centrifugal starting switch, the split-phase motor rotates in the opposite direction from the previous run each time it is started. This can clear minor jams but is claimed to be unnecessary by some manufacturers: Since the late 1970s most disposal units have swivel impellers which make reversing unnecessary.

There was another kind of garbage disposal unit powered by water pressure rather than electricity, and while that unit is still frequently cited in various articles and web searches, it has not been commercially available since the early 2000's and the manufacturer filed for bankruptcy back in 2007. Instead of the turntable and grind ring described above, an alternative machine had a water-powered unit with an oscillating piston with blades attached to chop the waste into fine pieces. Because of this cutting action, they could handle fibrous waste. Water-powered units took longer than electric ones for a given amount of waste and needed fairly high water pressure to function properly. It was a great concept, but apparently not yet ready for mass production.

Cold water should always be kept running when the disposal is switched on to prevent damage to the blades and wash away the chopped waste without allowing it to build up and clog the drains. Hot water tends to melt easily-flushed solid shredded pieces of fat, which can then solidify and block the drain. Under no circumstances should oil or grease be disposed in a sink drain with or without a disposer in use.

Provision must be made to supply and switch power to the waste disposal unit. A conventional electric switch can be used, which requires wiring to be installed and poses a potential electric shock hazard if used with wet hands. An air switch which delivers a puff of air to operate an electric switch remote from the operator is safer. Alternatively, a wireless remote control switch can be used.

If a garbage disposal is discovered to have a "frozen lug", or a hammer that does not move freely, it is recommended that the user feed smaller bones such as those from chicken, through the unit. As seen on an episode of the TV show How It's Made, InSinkErator company tests its units by feeding frozen steer bones through a sample batch of disposal units, so one does not need fear damage to a unit in good condition with chicken bones, though such bones may become stuck and prevent normal use of the disposal unit. Many repair technicians recommend a weekly feeding of a batch of ice cubes through a running disposer to maintain good cleanliness. This will assist in keeping the lugs or hammers rotating freely and remove any build-up of deposits and minerals. Never feed glass into a garbage disposal.

Disposers used in conjunction with septic systems will add to the load of the system, and may cause more frequent septic pumping, or overflow of sewage. For septic system users special disposers are available that feature an enzyme-adding system claimed to aid in degradation of food waste while in the septic system.


A heavily corroded garbage disposal from above. Most of the teeth on the shredder ring have been destroyed. Rust in the turntable can cause the lugs to break free, as shown.

Selection of a garbage disposal unit should be based on quality and performance. Motors are relatively trouble-free, and unlikely to fail during a reasonable life-span. Metal parts in contact with waste and water (turntable, lugs, chamber, shredding ring) are very prone to corrosion, and last much longer if made of stainless steel or similar corrosion-resistant material rather than non-stainless steel, even if galvanized. The length of manufacturers' warranties gives some indication of quality, but units should last much longer than their warranty period.

The size of the chamber and power of the motor (in horsepower or watts) determine the amount of waste processed per unit time. Soundproofing to reduce the noise of operation adds cost.

Induction and commutator motors each have advantages and disadvantages. Feed can be continuous or batched.

Some manufacturers use standard mountings for all their models, making it very easy to replace a unit by any model of the same brand.

Many standard disposal units allow a dishwasher to be connected, and some more expensive dishwashers are equipped with a small built-in garbage disposal unit, making it unnecessary to scrape plates before washing them.

Impact and disadvantages

Sewage treatment plants cannot easily handle the extra load of kitchen waste disposal units.[citation needed] The load of organic carbon that reaches the treatment plant increases, which in turn increases the consumption of oxygen. The result is larger amounts of solids. However, if the waste water treatment is finely controlled, the organic carbon in the food may help to keep the bacterial decomposition running. Carbon may be deficient in that process. If no waste water treatment is performed, the extra load of pollutants is detrimental to the environment and chemicals in the waste are problematic.

It is often said[who?] that most organic waste would be better used for composting, an option not open to many city-dwellers without an effective collection system. Use of garbage disposal units diverts the impact of food waste from methods such as landfill or incinerators to effluent disposal systems.

Energy usage is not high; typically 500 to 1500 watts of power are used, comparable to an electric iron, but only for a very short time. Daily water usage varies, but is typically comparable to flushing a toilet a couple of times. One survey of these food processing units found a slight increase in household water use.

Cultural references

A garbage disposal is featured prominently in the opening scene of Robert Redford's 1980 movie Ordinary People.

A garbage disposal is featured in 1981's The Incredible Shrinking Woman when Lily Tomlin's character "Pat Kramer" falls down the drain and is almost chopped to bits by her housekeeper.

The character Claire Bennet on the TV series Heroes severely (and intentionally) mangled her hand in an active garbage disposal unit (shown as an InSinkErator unit) in the series pilot, though due to her superpowers her hand healed in moments. Due to a perceived negative portrayal of their product, InSinkErator filed suit against NBC Universal to remove the scene from future airings (it was edited to remove the manufacturer label after settlement of the suit).

The character Cosmo Kramer on the TV series Seinfeld installs a garbage disposal under the drain of his bathtub so he can prepare vegetables while showering.

In a 1997 segment of Jeopardy, the inal jeopardy question regarded New York City legalization of disposers.

In the 1977 film 'Rolling Thunder', Major Charles Rane (played by William Devane) has his hand mangled in a garbage disposal by a band of Mexican desperadoes. They want him to reveal the whereabouts of a cache of 2555 silver coins presented him by the townspeople upon his return from a North Vietnamese prison camp.

In the Stephen King novel Firestarter a government scientist suffering from mental problems commits suicide by feeding his hand and arm to a garbage disposal unit.

In issue #25 (May/June 1954) of EC Comics' comic book The Haunt of Fear, a man's attempt to dispose of his wife's body in his new garbage disposal goes wrong because of the plumber's improper installation of the unit.


^ Shpiner, Ron. Submitted to the Senate of the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, January 1997. he Effect of Domestic Garbage Grinding on Sewage Systems and Wastewater Treatment Plants.

^ Cox of In-Sink-Erator dies of cancer at 84, Contractor, July 1999

^ Insinkerator on its heritage

^ The Impact of Food Waste Disposers in Combined Sewer Areas of New York City

^ NYC Council Issue 1997 (Bad link. Archived version.)

^ City of Raleigh | Council Approves Ban On New And Replacement Garbage Disposals

^ WRAL.com "Disposals to Grind on in Raleigh". WRAL.com (Capitol Broadcasting Company). April 15, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-12-06. http://www.webcitation.org/5cs0WDi1q WRAL.com. 

^ Guardian, August 6, 2006, Two Counties offer incentives to install food waste disposals

^ http://www.svd.se/stockholm/nyheter/artikel_1646675.svd

^ http://www.wastemissionimpossible.org.uk/sinkyourwaste/index.html

^ Going Global By Going Green, The Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2008,p.B1

^ [http://www.appliancepartsonline.net/index.php?target=categories&category_id=22 APO, US

^ Food waste helps power wastewater plant, Fertilizer as by-product of wastewater plant

^ Garbage Disposal power on Nettally.com

^ Noise from universal motors vs. induction motors at howstuffworks.com

^ Magnet and induction motors in Commodore Disposers

^ http://www.secinfo.com/d1ztfh.uNa.htm

^ New Garbage Disposal Runs on Water Power, NY Times, December 16, 1999

^ Laumer, John: rash-Talking The Garbage Disposal: Examination Of A Not So Green US Export, ttp://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/02/trash-talking-the-garbage-disposal.php, 2008

^ http://money.guardian.co.uk/ethicalliving/story/0,,1839748,00.html

^ Karlberg, Tina and Erick Norin. VA-FORSK REPORT, 1999-9. ood Waste Disposers Effects on Wastewater Treatment Plants. A Study from the Town of Surahammar.

External links

Garbage disposal research

WikiHow: How to maintain a Garbage Disposal

Categories: Home appliances | Waste treatment technologyHidden categories: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements from January 2010 | All articles with specifically-marked weasel-worded phrases | Articles with specifically-marked weasel-worded phrases from January 2010
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