Commercial disposers are an efficient method of eliminating food waste.


What to Consider When Purchasing a Disposer

Not following manufacturers’ recommendations when selecting a disposer can result in an inadequate system that will not meet the operation’s waste needs. Because most operations become more dependent on these systems than anticipated, it is better to go bigger in terms of horsepower to ensure the waste amount can be accommodated.

Here, Joshua Labrecque, assistant project manager at Colburn & Guyette, Rockland, Mass., provides insight on what operators should consider when purchasing a disposer.

  • Food disposers are used in a variety of applications in a foodservice operation, such as for food preparation, dishwashing and bulk food waste disposal.
  • There are a variety of options when it comes to selecting the correct disposer. The first thing to consider is size. The more food waste being ground, the larger the unit should be.
  • The density of the food waste should also be taken into consideration when sizing the disposer. Getting a unit that is oversized may not be cost effective or energy efficient. However, undersizing can be problematic and cause jamming and slow throughput. For most commercial foodservice operations, anywhere from ¾ to 5 hp will meet most operational requirements.
  • The disposer’s locations and mounting are also key. Manufacturers typically provide two different mounting types, a prefabricated bowl that is welded into a stainless steel countertop or a sink collar adapter to install into a sink drain. Sink collar adapters are used more often when a sink is going to be used in conjunction with the disposer for more than just food disposal, such as with food preparation, rinsing out coffee equipment or just general purpose use. The bowl accessory is used more often in the pot/dish area when a multipurpose sink is not required.
  • Another option is a scrap sink for breaking down dishes and silverware at a dishmachine. In this scenario, a disposer is used in a sink application with a rack guide for scrapping/loading of dish racks into the dishmachine.
  • Disposer manufacturers found a variety of ways to conserve water usage. One system uses an enhanced control panel, which regulates the amount of fresh water being used in the grinding process. Another approach is using a semi-closed system that recirculates the water being used to grind and only adds fresh water as necessary.
  • Options to consider include auto-reversing motors that help prevent jamming. Perforated silver savers prevent metal silverware from getting into the grinding chamber. Throat guards and offset chutes can also be used to prevent access to the cutting chamber inside of the disposer.


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