The garbage disposal unit was invented in 1927 by John W. Hammes, an architect working in Racine, Wisconsin. He applied for a patent in 1933 that was issued in 1935. His company put his disposer on the market in 1940.
Hammes' claim is disputed, as General Electric introduced a garbage disposal unit in 1935, known as the Disposal.
In many cities in the United States in the 1930s and the 1940s, the municipal sewage system had regulations prohibiting placing food waste (garbage) into the system. One company spent considerable effort, and was highly successful in convincing many localities to rescind these prohibitions.
Many localities in the United States prohibited the use of disposers. For many years, garbage disposers were illegal in New York City because of a perceived threat of damage to the city's sewer system. After a 21-month study with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, the ban was rescinded in 1997 by local law 1997/071, which amended section 24-518.1, NYC Administrative Code.
In 2008, the city of Raleigh, North Carolina attempted a ban on the replacement and installation of garbage disposers, which also extended to outlying towns sharing the city's municipal sewage system, but rescinded the ban one month later.
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