A couple of days ago, while at the big box store (why do things always seem to break on a Sunday afternoon?!) I ran into a plumber that I know. Stan's a big, gregarious guy - always jovial and is liked by everyone. Smart guy, too. Does a lot of residential remodeling jobs, as well as plumbing repair; very popular as he is very responsive.
Anyway, we chatted about the recent Super Bowl, our mutual interest in classic muscle cars and, as usual, our businesses. I told him that Golden Arrow Home Inspection was doing well, and the house selling season was just starting to heat-up for this year.
When I asked Stan how things were going for him, he said "Great! Spent a few days last week with a few of my best friends!". "That's nice that you could take some time off to be with friends", I said, "But what about your plumbing business?"
"I AM talking about my plumbing business - my best friends are garbage disposals! As long as people keep dumping food down them, I'll never go hungry!"
Stan went on to explain that garbage disposals (AKA 'food waste disposers') aren't meant to process large amounts of food, but really are there to deal with stray bits. Too many people just dump all of their food waste down the disposal, and end up clogging the whole works. Then they have to call Stan to clear it out. Fine by Stan - this helps to keep his family fed.
The best practice is to scrape all food into the trash. If you don't, over time small chunks of food can eventually build-up and clog the drain. This usually happens in the trap, but can also occur in the drain pipe itself - especially if the homeowner is in the habit of pouring grease down the sink (another big no-no as far as your pipes are concerned).
Stan went on to advise that one should never put anything fibrous (e.g., lettuce, artichoke leaves, potato peels, etc.) down a disposal, as well as rice or spaghetti. Always use cold water when running the disposal to help solidify and clear any grease, and leave the water on for a few seconds after turning it off to thoroughly flush the disposal and drain pipes.
"Otherwise", Stan declared, "I'll get a call to come visit my best friend!"