What is the Purpose of a Garbage Disposal?

Garbage disposals reduce household waste by grinding up kitchen scraps and flushing them through the sewer system or into a septic tank. More than half of U.S. households have a garbage disposal, according to Consumer Reports.


Garbage disposals rid the home of organic waste.

Garbage disposals rid the home of foul odors, as well as organic materials that can attract pests. Increased use of garbage disposals has reduced the amount of waste sent to landfills, according to Consumer Reports. Some cities, including Indianapolis and Denver, require new homes be built with a garbage disposal.


Garbage disposals do increase water usage, according to Consumer Reports. They can also overburden sewer systems. In homes with septic tanks, garbage disposals can speed up sludge and scum build-up, which can cause clogging, according to The Illinois Times.


There are two types of garbage disposals: batch-fed and continuous-fed. To operate a batch-fed model, it must be filled before pushing down the stopper and activating the blades. As the name implies, waste can be continually processed through a continuous-fed model. Both perform the same function, but batch-fed models are safer because they only operate when closed.

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I have been a professional historian, museum curator, and author for more than a decade. I have served as the Museums Editor at BellaOnline since 2004. I am qualified to serve as an expert in a variety of historical topics. My expertise includes the Victorian Age and McKinley's presidency, the Roaring Twenties, the 1950s, the flu, museum studies, material culture, architecture, and more. I have a BA in history and an MA in history museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program. Please see my bio on my employer's website for more: http://www.mckinleymuseum.org/speakers_bureau/speaker/2