With some of the advanced food waste dispensers available today claiming to grind "anything" and do so quietly, it may be tempting to skip regular waste disposal, especially if taking the garbage out is not the most pleasant of chores.

While common sense dictates that bottles, cans or utensils (I didn't make the last one up) should not end up in a sink waste dispenser, what innocent-looking items should not end up there either?


From the operation manual of the most expensive Insinkerator:

This product is designed to dispose of normal household food waste; inserting materials other than food waste into disposer could cause personal injury and/or property damage.

Not a surprising disclaimer.

Do not put the following into a disposer: clam or oyster shells, caustic drain cleaners or similar products, glass, china, or plastic, metal (such as bottle caps, steel shot, tin cans, or utensils), hot grease or other hot liquids.

Why no hot grease though?

Do not dispose of the following in the disposer: paints, solvents, household cleaners and chemicals, automotive fluids, plastic wrap.

  • 2
    No hot grease because it will solidify as it cools, and if it doesn't clog your garbage disposal, it can eventually clog your drain. That's the same reasoning behind the "always grind with cold water" rule. You want anything fatty or greasy to stay as solid as possibly so it can get flushed out of your pipes as a globule and not get stuck in them as a glob. – mjohns Jul 21 '15 at 0:39

From personal experience I have given my family members the follow not for disposal list. Small amounts are ok but not the bowlful of Thanksgiving leftover amounts. They form a slurry that fills the pipe and doesn't move.

-mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, large quantities of oatmeal, celery. bread or stuffing,

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