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Kitchen garbage disposal

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I've never seen or used one, is it something exclusively American? North american maybe ?
What's the use?

We have had one in  all of our houses here in the US. (built in mid '80s, mid '90s, and mid '00s)

They are used to grind up and wash food waste (not fat - veggies and fruit rinds, egg shells....) down the drain.

ETA: Oh, I forgot to add, that my husband from the UK won't use  ours. Probably saw that scene in Heros where the girl tests out her invulnerability by putting her hand down one......It will take a finger!

(US Midwest) I didn't grow up with one; my childhood home was over 100 years old, and whenever the kitchen was renovated, the previous owners or my parents never included a garbage disposal. We also lived out in the country and sometimes the water/septic system works differently there than in town, too.

But my current apartment, which is ten years old, has one. I put small bits of food down it when I'm rinsing off my plate. Or, say, I'm washing a bunch of grapes, and I pick out the bad ones and just drop them down the drain, and run the garbage disposal when I'm done. I have a switch above the sink, which looks like a lightswitch, that turns the disposal on and off.

You can't put really hard stuff like bones or peach pits in it, and I don't do much cooking (where you might have veggie remains). So personally I wouldn't call it essential, and to be honest I'm a little afraid of it. But it's moderately nice to not worry about slightly bigger food chunks going down your drain and clogging it, because you just flip the switch and chew them up.

Outdoor Girl:
Ontario here:  quite a few communities in my province ban them.  It is hard on the sewage treatment plant to try to remove all the extra organics.  And a lot of communities now have a green bin program to collect foodstuffs and other organics and compost them industrially.  The higher heats allow you to put stuff in that you wouldn't put in your back yard composter, like bones, meat and fats and dairy.

I also grew up in a rural area and I don't think they are recommended for homes on septic systems.

I've never seen a garbage disposal.

We had one in our housing in the late '60s, but I didn't cook much & it did take care of our garbage pretty well. Our sanitation department now has asked us to limit the use in town. I never really used it much anyway because it will only take a few potato peels at a time and so many things are not to be sent into it. We only scrape plates into the garbage, and then rinse the plates into the disposal, so only that last little bit of debris goes into it, as well as the stuff caught in the strainer on the kitchen sink drain.

I think I spend more time putting eggshells and lemon peel and laundry detergent into it trying to keep it clean than I really use it. I really just wish I had a plain drain on that sink, too.

I find it kind of creepy, too, although I've never seen it used in a movie or on TV.

If I ever remodel a kitchen again, I will not have one.


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