Kitchen Waste Disposal Buying Guide


If you haven’t got space for a compost heap in your garden, then you might be wondering how else to dispose of your unwanted kitchen waste. After compost heaps, waste disposal units are one of the best environmentally-friendly answers to waste disposal.

Eco-friendly waste solution


As we become more aware of our carbon footprint, it's time to think about how we can reduce it even further. We've all been guilty of throwing food waste in a general rubbish bin at some time in our lives, whether it's out of ease, or you just don't have anywhere else to dispose of it, but now's the time to change that!

Waste disposal units can take care of all that waste you can’t recycle into compost. Sitting hidden under kitchen sinks they tirelessly grind down things like, chicken bones, bread crusts, vegetable peelings, and much more into a fine powder that's flushed down the drain by your kitchen taps.

Each year in the UK around 6.7 million tonnes of food is thrown away totaling a crazy £10.2 billion! These clever units are an extremely effective way to reduce your kitchen waste output, reduce the amount of waste going to landfill sites, and in turn, you'll be helping to lessen the effects of climate change.

Waste disposal units are made for fitting underneath kitchen sinks and attach to the standard drain outlet. Before purchasing a waste disposal unit it's essential to make sure you have enough room under your sink to fit the unit.

Read on to find out everything you need to know before purchasing a waste disposal unit.

How does a waste disposal unit work?

Watch the below video to find out how a waste disposal unit works.

Types of waste disposal unit

The type of food waste disposal unit you’ll want to buy depends on how you’ll be using it and how safe you want it to be. The two types on offer are continuous feed units and batch feed units.

Continuous Feed

Continuous feed models can be operated via either an air switch mounted on top of the sink or an electric wall switch, giving you the freedom to choose the best operation mode for you. When switched on the unit will run continuously allowing you to dispose of food waste throughout its operation. Once all waste has been ground down, simply switch the unit off.

Continuous feed units are the more common type of waste disposal, as they're generally faster and more efficient than batch feed units, however, you may have to pay a premium for these benefits.

Batch Feed

Batch feed units allow you to dispose of your food waste in batches, which offers piece of mind for those with children as the unit has to be covered with a plug before you can turn it on.

This type of unit is best for smaller households with less food waste as disposing of your food waste in batches can be very time consuming if you have a large amount to dispose of.

In some cases, continuous feed units can be converted into batch feed units if you prefer this mode of operation. InSinkErator, one of the most popular brands of food waste disposer units, offers a cover control accessory that will convert some of the continuous feed models they offer (the Evolution 100 and 200 models).

Installing a waste disposal unit


When choosing a waste disposal unit you should also consider the type of switch that the unit operates by. While it’s common to have an electrical switch on the backsplash near the sink, an air switch can be the safer choice as the electrics are isolated away from the kitchen sink. They’re also easier to install as wires don’t need to be run behind your walls.

The diagram above shows how an InSinkErator Air Switch is connected to a continuous feed waste disposal unit and it's power source.

Be aware that batch feed models do not require an air switch as they are operated via a standard electrical switch.

Features of a waste disposal unit

Waste disposal units come with a variety of clever features including sound eliminating technology, anti-microbial properties, and even odour protection. Here we will talk about some of the most important features to consider when buying a waste disposal unit.


When it comes to the grinding stage, disposal units with stainless steel impellers are more reliable. Stainless steel is more robust, less prone to corrosion, and will likely last longer than any other type of impeller. Stainless steel impellers can handle hard food waste such as bones with ease, but this also depends on the horsepower of the unit.


The higher the horsepower, the more powerful the unit will be. Units with high horsepower are capable of grinding down tougher foods, like bones, and ensuring all waste is finely ground down prevent blockages. Those with a low horsepower may struggle to grind stronger items such as particularly hard food scraps, which can lead to a clogged drain.

If you know you will regularly be using a waste disposal unit for breaking down chicken or other meat bones then it's best to get a larger unit, as smaller units with less power are unlikely to cope.


The size of a waste disposal unit generally affects the level of noise produced, as larger disposers will tend to be quieter. However, manufacturers have largely solved the problem of the incredibly noisy disposers of old, but it’s worth noting that your disposer will never be as quiet as a mouse. If noise is something that bothers you then, look for models that highlight how quiet they operate.


When you’re doing your research make sure you find a waste disposer that mentions an anti-reverse or anti-jamming feature. In the event of a jam, the unit will be able to quickly clear it without the need to look at it yourself.


While a decent waste disposal unit should last for years, with trouble-free operation, it’s a good idea to purchase one that comes with a lengthy guarantee for peace of mind. Guarantees can be anything between 1 and 6 years and sometimes even longer. Some manufacturers include parts and labour in their guarantees too, offering a repair service direct to your home.

Cleaning your waste disposal unit


When purchasing a waste disposal unit you should consider how easy it is to clean. Most waste units come with removable baffles for easy cleaning, however, some cheaper models don't.

The main thing to consider when cleaning a waste disposal unit is safety, ensuring you don’t put your hands near the impellers when it’s turned on! Cleaning a waste disposal unit can be pretty straightforward. Simply fill your sink with ice cubes and turn on the blades. This will help to remove concealed dirt and grime in the waste disposal unit.

If you want to remove bad odours from a unit then citrus peels like lemon or orange work perfectly. Simply dispose of these in a waste disposal unit like anything else and let them work their magic.

Insinkerator waste disposal units

Insinkerator Waste Disposal Units

As the leading waste disposal unit manufacturer Insinkerator, provide a wide range of waste disposal units suitable for everyone's needs including units for commercial use.

The amount of food waste you have will likely influence your decision on the model which is best for your needs. Insinkerator provide models suitable for small households, larger family homes, and also for commercial premises, the features included will depend on the model you choose.

Cheaper models tend to be best suited to smaller homes, as they provide less horsepower and only a 1 stage grinding process. However, if you have a busy family home, then a larger model with more horsepower would be best suited to you, as they also include a 3 stage grind process.

If you're still unsure which Insinkerator model best suits your needs then watch the below video for more advice.

McAlpine waste disposal units

McAlpine Waste Disposal Units

While McAlpine might not be as well known as Insinkerator, their perfect grind waste disposal units certainly don't disappoint! All McAlpine waste disposal models feature BioGuard anti-microbial properties helping to eliminate bacteria and odour, 25% more torque than other brands, giving them a much more efficient grinding power, and clever as sound eliminating technology making them quieter than other waste disposal units of the same price!

Depending on your budget and the model you choose McAlpine waste disposal warranties range from 3 to an amazing 10 years!

Reginox waste disposal units

Reginox Waste Disposal Units

While Reginox might be well known for great quality kitchen sinks and taps, you might not be aware they also have their own range of high-quality waste disposal units.

Like other brands, Reginox sell a range of units catering to both small and large households. Some of their stand-out features include a torque master grinding system, Bio shield odour protection, a permanent magnet motor and a removable splash guard.

For further kitchen inspiration and advice, take a look at the following posts - Kitchen Cleaning Tips - Easy Kitchen Renovation Tips - Kitchen Sink Buying Guide.

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