Garbage Disposal Units a US thing?

Based on a discussion about a clogged garbage disposal in MPSIMS, it reminded me of something I’ve wondered for a good long time. Are dual sink garbage disposal systems an American thing? For as long as I’ve lived in Canada I’ve never seen this. I only ever see it on American TV shows. How did this come about? When did garbage disposals become common equipment in houses and apartments?

They are really useful. I don’t know why other places don’t commonly have garbage disposals in kitchen sinks. Aunt Bea won a garbage disposal on the Andy Griffith show as part of a kitchen prize contest and loved it. That was in the early 1960’s so they were around before that. I would like to know the logic for not having them in other places. You don’t just dump everything into it although some people try but you also don’t have to fish most food waste out with your fingers if you use them the way they are meant to be used either. It saves a lot of time and headaches. As far as I can tell, American kitchen sink technology is still tops by far. You would think that would be easier for other places to adopt than things like great digital phone service but apparently not.

I knew about garbage disposal units when I lived in New Zealand, and one of our flats had one installed, but generally in New Zealand I think they are seen as being bad for the environment, although I don’t have any data to back that up.

I’ve always lived in dwellings with a garbage disposal, since I can remember, until my current house.

I believe that in some areas they are restricted because they overload the sewage-treatment plants. They aren’t common here in Ontario–the only one I remember actually seeing was at my well-to-do cousins’ place in BC. So to me, they have an air of suburban luxury.

Mum and Dad had one back in the 70s (in the UK). They didn’t much use it as theirs seemed to clog up and stop working very easily.

I’ve only lived in a few places without garbage disposals: my childhood home (which didn’t even have a dishwasher; unusual for American houses and apartments even at the time) and my first apartment (built in the early 1970s). I’ve rented and owned throughout the United States, and every place had a disposal. I owned a house on a septic system that had a disposal; I had to be careful and make sure everything that went down it was rapidly biodegradable.

Personally, I love them, but I’ve got a lot of respect for them in the same way as I respect guns and blowtorches. In houses I’ve owned, I usually replaced the original disposal wall switch with one that is heavy-duty and requiring some force to flip. I also made sure it was a different form than the other switches; Decora-style paddle for the lights, traditional toggle for the disposal.

There is nothing wrong with additional safety but garbage disposals aren’t THAT dangerous. They don’t even have real blades on them. They use a type of impeller that does a good job off chewing up something like pasta or fruit bits and forcing it down the pipes but they won’t instantly cut your finger off either although it would still hurt. The worst I have ever seen is forks that got bent when they fell down the drain when it was on.

The OP mentions “dual sink” garbage disposals. What’s meant by that? Dual sinks, dual sinks with garbage disposals, or dual sinks that have a single disposal? I’ve seen dual sinks all over the place, but I’ve never seen a sink with two disposals.

I think he’s referring to the standard set up of two sinks one of which has a garbage disposal.

Garbage disposals are more an urban thing then an American thing. In rural houses you don’t see them. If you live in the country you can throw stuff that goes in the urban folks garbage disposals out in your yard for compost. Also garbage disposals are very bad for septic systems that most rural homes have. If you are on a municipal sewer system it is a non issue and just a convenience.

We have on in Prague, but not in Dubai. In Prague it is seen as a bit of an up-scale thing as most places don’t have them. Ours was made in the USA.

They used to be illegal in New York City for that reason. (Some people went and got them anyway. What are they gonna do, send a disposal inspector to look under everyone’s sink?)

Also not recommended if you have a septic system.

Well, they’re pretty common in southern Alberta at least. My parents and most of their friends have one. You can get them at Canadian Tire.

Is there anything you can’t get at Canadian Tire these days?

The legend also was that the Mafia, which was purportedly heavily invested in garbage removal in NYC, resisted the introduction of garbage disposals because of the reduction in household waste that goes down the trash chute.

As far as I know they are rare in Ireland. I don’t know anyone who has one, although I wouldn’t be surprised if modern apartments have them. Generally food waste goes in the compost, rather than in the sewer. But it could be more problematic for urban apartment dwellers. I suppose the practice in this case would be to pour liquid down the drain and put solid material in the bin.

I’ve come across plenty here in B.C., but I’ve never seen one on American TV.

I have one in my kitchen. The previous owners obviously didn’t make much use of it because it was broken when I moved in. I’ve never bothered to get it fixed either. I put most of my waste into the compost bin.

I have one in my apartment in Kansas City and don’t have one in my apartment in Chicago - and I miss having one. By putting all the waste food in the disposal, my trash and recyclables are that much cleaner. As I live alone in my Kansas City apartment, I only generate enough trash for one small bag a week - which means that the bag sits in the bin for a week.

My brother is a master plumber and has very strong opinions about disposals, and he equipped me with a 3/4 hp unit that can grind up chicken bones.

I haven’t seen a lot of them in Australia.

What are they for? Does it use a lot of water? Where does the waste go? Do they need a lot of maintenance? Are they expensive? How is it easier than tossing the rubbish in the bin?