Our Garbage Disposal performance TestRaw Fish Scraps
Can an in-sink garbage disposal deal with uncooked animal scraps such as bones and skin? And if the answer is yes, then how effectively? This test will take a close look at how these food waste grinders handle the raw remains that come after fileting a fish.
Why Raw Fish Scraps Matter
Herding animal bones down a kitchen disposal system might not be something that everybody agrees on, but it is one of the few ways to clean the grind chamber that all garbage disposal manufacturers recommend.
The idea here is to utilize the natural toughness of bone tissues to create a scouring effect in the chamber and let it clean itself, so to speak. Grinding ice cubes operate on the same principle.
In the manuals across various brands, the cleaning instructions mention nothing about the animal bones being cooked or not. And since we have opted for cooked bones in our Scraps Mix Test (because of the already-challenging premise of that test), we turn entirely to raw materials this time.
As expected, grinding uncooked bones and other raw tissues forces new challenges to the surface and allows the team to view in-sink disposer systems from a different angle.
In comparison to the Scrap Mix test, we observe similarity in the resulting bone tissues, which most of the time break down and travel through most models without much problems. Whereas the other soft tissues like skin have a remarkably tougher time getting shredded down. We are able to collate interesting data thanks to those added nuances, and draw firmer and more helpful conclusions.
List of equipment:
- Rubber cleaning gloves
- Noise level meter
- Running water
- Drain baffle
- Garbage disposal
- (Layer 1) Shallow 18½-inch plastic colander with round holes (~ 0.08 sq in)
- (Layer 2) Deep 18½-inch plastic colander with rounded square holes (~ 0.05 sq in)
- Deep 20-inch container
We make a two-layer screening device with the two colanders: Layer 1 on top catching large pieces and Layer 2 below catching smaller pieces. The different openings on the two layers help us categorize the output which we will measure in step 3 for later comparison.
List of Ingredients:
- Uncooked fish scraps: ~ 49.4 oz. (1380-1400 g)
We purchased scraps of salmon which come with bones, skin, and leftover fish, but without the heads. These scraps are packaged separately; each package supposedly contains one whole salmon.
Each package weighs differently, so in order to arrive at approximately the same input across all tests, we deliberately select characteristic portions that make up a whole fish and build our own set of scraps. We also take advantage of the heavier packages to compensate for lighter ones to avoid wasteful use of ingredients.
- Step 1: With the splash guard in position, we put the prepared salmon scraps in the sink, and place the screening device in position.
- Step 2: We put on running water, turn on the machine, and proceed to flush stuff down. We start the stopwatch once the first piece of scraps has entered the chamber. Each candidate will operate for 3 minutes with the scraps going in continuously. We pause the clock if a disposal is stuck to unjam the motor or if it overheats to wait for the circuit breaker to reset, then continue the test until time is up or a candidate has overheated 3 times.
- Step 3: We turn the machine off, collect the materials that have accumulated on each layer of the screening device, and weigh each category respectively. The leftovers inside the grind chamber are collected and weighed, as well.
We rate every tested product based on the amount of leftovers, materials on Layer 1 (large pieces) and materials on Layer 2 (small pieces).
We set the Fail/Pass criteria as follows:
- If a candidate has overheated three times, the run fails.
- If the leftovers are more than 10% of input load after 3 minutes, the run fails.
With the total input weighed and agreed at 49.4 oz., a product will pass if it produces no more than 4.94 oz. worth of leftovers. Also, thanks to our early test runs, we’re conclude that 3 minutes is a fair and sufficient amount of time for capable disposers to finish the task.
Next, the leftovers, Layer 1, and Layer 2 are scored:
- If Leftovers are less than 1% of the input load, a candidate receives 10 points. For every 1% beyond, it loses 1 point.
- If Layer 1 catches less than 5% of the input load, it receives 10 points. For every 2% beyond, it loses 1 point.
- If Layer 2 catches less than 5% of the input load, it receives 10 points. For every 2% beyond, it loses 1 point.
To sum up, a candidate scores a 10 if it manages to grind through 99% of the input load while releasing less than 2.47 oz. on Layer 1 and less than 2.47 oz. on Layer 2, all in under 3 minutes.
A product is rated by taking 50% from the scores of Leftovers, 30% from that of Layer 1, and 20% from Layer 2.
Let’s take a look at some of the results we collected:
- Insinkerator Evolution Excel: 9.3 points.
The final rating of 9.3 draws 5 points from Leftovers, 2.3 points from Layer 1, and 2 points from Layer 2.
- Waste King L-1001: 5.9 points.
The final rating of 5.9 draws 2 points from Leftovers, 1.9 points from Layer 1, and 2 points from Layer 2.