May is National Home Improvement Month, and as the month comes to a close, there’s still time to do one small project in the kitchen that will make a big difference: adding or replacing a garbage disposer.
This hard-working, under-appreciated appliance has come a long way since it was first invented back in 1927 by an architect in Racine, Wis., named John Hammes. Believe it or not, the photo above is what the first disposer looked like.
About half the homes in the U.S. have a disposer, and here’s why:
- It helps keep kitchens clean, fresh and hygienic – no food waste in the trash can causing an odor to attract pests and fewer trips to the dumpster.
- Putting your food waste down a disposer is more environmentally friendly than putting it in the trash to be hauled to a landfill where it will decompose and release methane (a greenhouse gas).
- A good disposer only costs hundreds of dollars and will last for several years.
So, what’s keeping the other half of the homes in the U.S. from investing in this handy kitchen helper? Well, there are some long-standing myths about disposers that still need to be dispelled, and you can explain these to your clients:
- “Water/energy used by disposers cancel out any environmental benefits.” Actually, disposers only use 1 percent or less of a household’s total water consumption and cost on average less than 50 cents a year in electricity.
- “Using a disposer is bad for a home’s plumbing.” The fact is, food waste is 70 percent water. If you have a modern disposer with multiple stages of grind and you use your disposer properly, food waste is virtually liquefied, allowing it to move through your plumbing with ease.
- “My house is on a septic system, so I can’t have a disposer.” If your septic system is properly sized and maintained, this shouldn’t be a problem. If your septic system can handle a dishwasher and a washing machine, it can handle a disposer.