In the United States, roughly half of homes have a garbage disposal installed. These are devices that are installed below the sink, between the drain and the trap. They are used to mince or shred food waste until it is small enough to pass through a plumbing system. Typically, this means pieces are shredded to small than two millimeters. The devices share a pretty widespread appeal in the United States because they drastically reduce the amount of time and energy required to clean dishes and dispose of waste. In a normal setting, you would have to make sure that no food pieces slip down the drain because food can clog the plumbing. If not clog the plumbing, then big pieces can fill up the trap. With a disposal unit, you do not have to worry about calling a plumber. The food is torn up so small that it passes through easily.
Invented in 1927, they have been used for almost a hundred years by U.S. residents. They were first invented by an architect named John W. Hammes and his company, InSinkErator. General Electric brought the first mass-produced unit to market in 1935. They do not share the same widespread use around the world though. A plumber in McDonough, Georgia probably installs more disposals than any plumber in the United Kingdom. They are only used by six percent of the population in the UK.
Some countries, like Sweden, actually subsidize the use of disposals because they help produce biogas. Biogas is released by the breakdown of organic matter. The shredding is done by a disposal unit that aids in that breakdown. Some places in the UK also subsidize garbage disposals because it reduces the amount of garbage that is thrown away and thus going to landfills.
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Food waste comprises about ten to twenty percent of a household’s trash. They are hard to dispose of as well. Because of the amount of water in food waste, burning them for fuel means that they require more energy to burn than they generate. When they decompose, they release methane gas. However, when processed through a garbage disposal properly installed by a plumber, the scraps are sent to wastewater treatment facilities. These facilities are very effective at turning solid organic matter into useful fertilizers.
A garbage disposal increases the amount of carbon in these wastewater treatment facilities. That means they consume more oxygen. The increased carbon, however, does aid in the bacterial decomposition in a wastewater treatment. This decomposition is necessary for creating fertilizer and reducing solid matter. The units are best when professionally installed by a company such as Delta Plumbing Atlanta. Also, the disposal units tend to result in higher rates of water use by a household.