Food Waste Disposal FAQs

Common questions about food waste disposals.

Watch & Learn

Many people are under the impression that food waste disposers utilize spinning blades to chop and break down food waste. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.


How does a food waste disposer work?

InSinkErator® food waste disposers use no blades whatsoever. Instead, impellers mounted on a spinning plate use centrifugal power to force food waste particles against a grind ring. That ring breaks down the food waste into very fine particles – virtually liquefying them.

Running water from the tap then flushes the particles through the grind ring out of the disposer and into your wastewater pipe. From there it flows to the wastewater treatment plant or your septic system.

All this means that disposers are an environmentally responsible alternative to conventional disposal methods such as landfill. Not only does this help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it means that food waste can be processed and used for renewable energy.


How much does a food waste disposal cost?

The cost for operating any waste disposer is relatively low. InSinkErator® disposers grind faster, so they use less electricity. Operating a 1/2 HP (.55 HP) waste disposal unit for a month consumes power equal to a 100 watt light bulb switched on for an hour. Disposers use very little water, but the speed of an InSinkErator® food waste disposer keeps it to the absolute minimum – on average just a .04% increase in water consumption.


Do I need a particular sink to use a food waste disposer?

No. An InSinkErator® food waste disposer will fit a single bowl or half bowl, stainless steel or other material. The standard 3.5 inches (90mm) sink opening is ideal and the disposer comes with an attachment for that size. However, accessory flanges are available for most non-standard holes/sinks. Remodeling the kitchen is an ideal time to think about the importance of convenience and hygiene and how to eliminate the problems of food waste. It also means that a professional might be on hand to do the installation. A disposer can also be installed into an existing sink/kitchen.


What if I have a septic tank?

You can absolutely have a disposer with your septic system. Not only do we have a Septic Assist Disposer specifically for use with a septic system, but all other InSinkErator disposers can be used with septic systems as well.

If your system is using a dishwasher or clothes washer, it can handle a disposer. After all, a disposer uses only about as much water per day as one flush of a toilet. Disposers by themselves will not clog a septic tank if the tank meets government standards and is adequately maintained.


How noisy are food waste disposers?

Surprisingly quiet... a lot quieter than many imagine. InSinkErator motors are particularly quiet and certain models have even greater quietness features.


How safe are InSinkErator® disposers?

Despite what many people think, InSinkErator® disposers have no blades. The grinding mechanism is incredibly safe.


How do I keep my disposer performing as good as new?

An InSinkErator® food waste disposer is designed to be maintenance-free. The best way to keep it in good condition is simply to use it regularly. Keep it clean with a moderate stream of cold water after you've used it. You can use baking soda to freshen the disposer up, particularly if a little food waste has been left inside it. And here's an InSinkErator® tip for extra freshness - grind a lemon or citrus fruit for a few seconds without water. Never put bleach in the food waste disposer.

Tips For Success

  • Run food waste disposer along with a moderate flow of cold water. Continue to run cold water for a few seconds after grinding is complete.
  • Avoid using hot water when grinding food waste. It is OK to drain hot water into the food waste disposer between grinding periods.
  • Never pour grease or fat into your food waste disposer or drain.

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