The Truth about Waste Disposal Units

According to statistics, the UK collectively wastes around 18 million tonnes of food every year, which ultimately ends up in landfill, with a value of £13 billion. Roughly 1/3 of that waste comes from households, however. So, why is so much food wasted? And more importantly, what can we do about it? 

Research suggests a variety of reasons that contribute to the high amount of wastage, including:  

  • Food not being consumed quickly enough, before it has gone off  
  • Too much food has been prepared, particularly for larger groups of people  

Most of this food is put into our typical domestic bins, which not only cause horrible smells, they also send a lot of material unnecessarily to landfill sites. With so much focus on reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfill, there’s a lot of conversation regarding what else we can do with the inevitable waste that occurs in our homes.  

The most common option is to compost it, which is a fantastic idea, especially for fond gardeners. However, some kitchen waste just isn’t suitable for recycling, for example:  

  • Bones  
  • Meats  
  • Fish  
  • Onions  
  • Peelings  

For food materials like these, however, there is another option that is better than sending everything to landfill and that is installing a Waste Disposal Unit into your normal kitchen sink.  

A Waste Disposal Unit is a practical addition to your kitchen because it helps to remove the food from your home, instantly removing unsightly items from your home whilst preventing smells before the food has had a chance to rot.   

Busting the Myths about Waste Disposal Units  

Waste Disposal Units have traditionally not been as popular in the UK as they have been across the pond, with several common suggestions as to why, however many suggestions are not entirely accurate, so let us bust a couple of the most popular myths:  

Myth: Our sewage system cannot handle the waste from Disposal Units.  

Truth: Waste Disposals Units are designed to grind foods, including those that are bulky (such as chicken bones, fruit and vegetables etc), into small particles. These tiny particles are then washed easily into the sewage system and are so small that they won’t cause any problems further down the line.  

Myth: Waste Disposal Units are dangerous.  

It’s easy to understand where this myth derives from when we are surrounded by films and TV shows that often depict wedding rings being dropped and limbs being lost when someone reaches in to retrieve the said ring. However, this isn’t a true depiction of Waste Disposal Units.  

Truth: Many people incorrectly believe that Waste Disposal Units feature blades that cut and slice the food, similar – in part – to a Blender. This isn’t true. In fact, they don’t cut the food at all, but rather grind it into a liquefied form. This is done using grinding plates, rather than blades which is much safer.  

Fitting a Waste Disposal Unit into your Kitchen  

There is generally no need to purchase a new sink when you wish to install a waste disposal unit into your kitchen, as it will fit with any existing sink, however, there are a few things you will need to do to prepare the sink and area around it:  

  1. Pre-drill a hole into the work surface, to accept the 33mm air switch  
  2. Ensure that there is a 13-amp power socket within 600mm of the area that the unit is to be installed  Check that there is enough space for the unit, particularly underneath the sink – take into consideration any other piping that you have, as well as anything else that you store in this area, including any shelving which you may need to remove  
  3. Check the size of the sinkhole which will need to be 90mm  
  4. If your sinkhole is more than 19mm thick, you will also need an extended flange  
  5. Check that the overflow for the sink is external and includes a pipe connection.  


Things NOT to put into a Waste Disposal Unit  

  • Cutlery  
  • Any type of packaging, including:  
    • Cartons  
    • Bottles  

Some models of Waste Disposal Unit may not be able to grind certain types of food, for example, stringy or fibrous items like banana skins. Therefore, we recommend checking the information provided with the Unit you are interested in.  

Looking to find out more about how a Waste Disposal Unit could help you out? You’re in luck! Our Howarth At Home kitchen showrooms can provide them, either as part of your new kitchen or individually. Speak to your local kitchen designer who’ll be able to answer any questions you may have.


Kat Musselwhite – HT Blogger