Why are garbage disposals mostly popular in America? (Surprising Answer!)

Americans love their garbage disposals. Why? Because they’re convenient, reliable, energy-efficient, and a great way to have cleaner countertops. Not everyone has one though. This kitchen appliance is found in almost 40% of households across the country. This is still a lot more than in other countries. Let’s take a look at some reasons why Americans love their garbage disposal so much!


Why are garbage disposals so popular in the United States?

Americans love their “disposals” so much because they make life easier. This country is all about convenience, and these appliances definitely help achieve that goal. It requires some infrastructure to process the output. Most countries don’t have this and garbage disposals are not allowed for this reason.

The device has been invented in 1927 in the USA. From there the company that invented this device started to promote it heavily. In some places, manufacturers were able to convince regulators to make it necessary to install one. This created strong local demand. These companies have continued this effort. Some cities were more reluctant though as it required some investment on their part. For example, New York only recently allowed them.

Garbage disposals are also shown in movies and popular TV shows to promote them. This makes more people aware of their convenience. Eventually, it pushes more people to get one.

Plumbers often recommend them as they make a commission when they install them. They might try to convince homeowners that it has a lot of advantages. The same is true about kitchen installers. It is a great way to increase their margin.

Once people are used to having a garbage disposal, it can be difficult to change this habit. This is why people often install one if they move into a house that doesn’t have one yet.

In some places in Canada they are used as well (commonly called Garburators). This is only in certain cities though and it is not as popular as in the USA.

Why are garbage disposals not popular in Europe or Asia?

In Europe, people often have a garden that they can use to compost food waste. In a lot of European countries, it is not allowed to have a garbage disposal as the drains and waste systems are not able to process this. Most wastewater systems are quite old whereas the ones in the USA have been built more recently.

Cities in Europe are also smaller and this makes it easier to collect waste with a truck. This is also one of the reasons why a lot of cities in Europe prefer this way of collecting food scraps.

The winters in Europe can also be very cold. The water can freeze when this happens. The food scraps could get stuck in the drains and cause problems when this happens.

This might change though as it is possible to create energy from food waste. For example, in Canada and Sweden water companies are looking into this. Turning food scraps into biogas could be a great way to generate energy.

In Asia, the drains are often too small for this. They also have a warmer and more humid climate that can make the food scraps rot faster in the drains. This can attract flies and other problems. Some people argue that it can break the drains but it has been proven in the USA that it can work if the water companies wanted to invest in this. It also was not really a priority as there were no companies pushing for regulations around this.

Disadvantages of using a garbage disposal

While Americans love their garbage disposals, they also have some disadvantages:

– Increased risk of clogged pipes. Using your disposal regularly can actually clog your pipes. In fact, the majority of plumbing issues in the kitchen occur because of the disposal. That’s because those tiny particles that go down the drain don’t always get flushed away. They might get stuck in the pipes.

Can cause a bad smell. We all love the fresh, clean smell that a disposal provides, but every now and then, you’ll get a “bad smell” from your disposal. That’s because your garbage disposal is designed to break down food scraps into tiny particles. Those particles can attract bacteria, which in turn can cause a bad smell. And it’s not just the disposal that will be affected. It’s the entire kitchen that will have to deal with the bad smell.

-Expensive to install: they can cost several hundreds of dollars to install. A plumber will generally do this for you as you need to connect it to the drains in your kitchen.

-It is not allowed to throw everything in the garbage disposal. Coffee grounds and grease are just one example. A lot of people don’t use their garbage disposal correctly.

-It requires maintenance. You will have to clean and maintain your garbage disposal so that it last longer.

These are some of the reasons why they are not more popular. It takes a lot of infrastructure to process the waste of garbage disposals and some cities don’t want to invest in this so the growth will be quite slow.


As you can see, Americans love their garbage disposals because they make life easier. They’re a great way to reduce the number of food scraps that you produce, as well as help you maintain a cleaner kitchen. While these appliances are popular in the US, they’re not actually used as much as a waste disposal unit in other parts of the world. Disposals are definitely convenient and useful appliances, but it’s important to remember that they’re not designed to break down everything. They require special waste disposal systems that some countries don’t have.

In this article, we have outlined some of the pros and cons of these systems. As you can see, there are reasons why they are popular in the USA but not that commonplace elsewhere.  We might see these devices become available in more regions though as the output can be used to produce biogas. This will require a lot of investment though and will be a slow process.