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Garbage disposal units are extremely common in the US but virtually unknown in Europe, mostly because of local regulations which ban them. What is the rationale behind this? Is there really a risk of damaging the local sewage if you install one despite the ban?

  • Ten years ago a neighbor called me for advice on what disposer to buy and I told her that our disposer died 20 years ago we opted to do without one. We put food scraps into the trash, and it's not very much trouble. She replied that she was not buying into my 'eco-wacko' approach and she went over to a big box to get one. She asked the plumbing associate what model of disposer he had and he replied he didn't have one, didn't see the need. She replied well I want one and got one. Got it home, called a plumber, and had them plumb the drain straight through, and returned the disposer. – Jim Stewart Apr 7 '17 at 14:53
  • They're uncommon but allowed in the UK. – Chris H Apr 7 '17 at 15:26
  • @ChrisH yes and I'm curious how UK's systems are different from the European ones. To me it sounds like mainland European companies ban it without any proper reason. – JonathanReez Apr 7 '17 at 15:47
  • @JonathanReez having seen a few, and used exactly one in the UK but none on the continent I have no idea. It may change anyway: our food waste is collected separately and trucked to the sewage plant, where it goes into an anaerobic digester, as does the sewage sludge. This implies that the food waste could go to the same place down a pipe. In very general terms, Europeans use less water than Americans, and are concerned about using more; this may have something to do with it. The UK is rather wet (though still water-stressed in some areas). – Chris H Apr 7 '17 at 15:52
  • @JimStewart which problems are caused by garbage disposals? Don't they reduce the amount of garbage? – JonathanReez Apr 7 '17 at 16:00
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Part One: valid reasons

Different communities will have built different sewage treatment facilities, with different design load capacities. There are newer communities in various spots in the USA which actually require food waste to be Dispos-al-ed, as this cuts down on edible waste in dumps (reducing gas emission and vermin population). Their treatment facilities were built with capacity in mind. Other communities, or older regions, do not have such capacity and need to minimize the amount of solid waste in the sewer system.

Part Two actual reasons

Sadly, many laws and regulations get passed with the best of intentions, and 5or 10 or 50 years later the world has changed. Getting a legislature to review and fix old laws is almost as difficult as getting quarks to exist as solo particles.

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