Food scrapes make up as much as 20% of average household waste. Those American families who are still eating at home generate pounds and pounds of food based garbage every day. A large majority of that goes down the sink. Dumping food down the sink is quick and easy, thanks in large part to the garbage disposal.
The first garbage disposal was invented in Racine, Wisconsin, in the year 1927, by an architect named John W. Hammes. He applied for a patent for his invention and was issued one in 1935. He created the company InSinkErator in 1940 to begin selling his ingenious garbage disposal invention to the public. However, some controversy surrounds Hammes. General Electric introduced its own garbage disposal in 1935 and contested the validity of Hammes patent. Initially, adoption of the garbage disposal was slow, as many believe that dumbing solid waste into the sewer system could cause long term damage. Today over 60% of American homes make use of a garbage disposal.
The disposal of food based waste on a large macro level is problematic. Food products which reach disposal facilities are difficult to get rid of. Waste-to-energy facilities typically burn waste. This is problematic as food waste contains high amounts of water making it require a large amount of energy to burn. Landfills full of food products produce methane gas, which causes greenhouse effects. Garbage disposals reduce food into a state that it can be easily disposed in the sewage system. Water treatment plants filter out food scrapes and can convert it into organic fertilizer! Garbage disposals not only make home life easier, but play an important function on society.