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What Is a Commercial Trash Compactor?

By C. Webb
Updated May 17, 2024
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A commercial trash compactor is a trash receptacle used by commercial industry. It is rented, owned, or leased. Typically, one is ordered by cubic yard capacity. Different industries use a commercial trash compactor for different waste products. For example, retail stores may use it for crushed cardboard boxes, and printing companies may dispose of waste paper in theirs.

The typical cubic yard in a trash compactor holds approximately 200 gallons (about 757 liters) of compacted waste. This means an 8-yard (about 7-meter) compactor holds more than 1,600 gallons (about 6,057 liters) of trash. Due to the large size of such compactors, most commercial businesses place them in out-of-the way but clearly accessible locations. Some compactors have walls built around them; others are left in the open.

In addition to outdoor commercial trash compactors, some large plants use an indoor commercial trash compactor. Smaller compactors are called dumpsters. Businesses choose the type and size of commercial trash compactor based on the need and volume.

Trash compactors work by compressing trash. This allows the trash to take up less space than if it had been left in its original state. The compacted trash is then transported to a landfill or picked up by a commercial trash company for disposal. Fees for landfills and pick-up vary by region.

Considerations for commercial trash compactor use include whether it will be located in private or public view on the property and whether it will be accessible to the public. Besides facing potential liability issues, a company ends up paying for public trash disposal that fills its compactor. Enclosing the compactor protects the business from both problems.

Stainless steel trash compactors are the most commonly purchased indoor units. They are typically placed in hospital settings and other medical facilities. Outdoor compactors are generally more rugged in appearance. Some units come equipped with a plastic container that can be removed for transportation.

Commercial trash compactors streamline the waste process for businesses. They can help maintain sanitation standards as well as address environmental concerns by reducing cubic waste yards. Dumpster diving and trash picking are discouraged when the waste is put through a commercial trash compactor as soon as possible.

To choose the most efficient compactor for their needs, purchasers must consider what type of trash is typically generated at their business. In addition, an evaluation of where it will be placed helps decide whether an indoor or outdoor unit would be best. The compactor must be easily accessible for trash removal, either by employees or a commercial trash company. Once all aspects of use and need are analyzed, the best commercial trash compactor can be chosen.

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Discussion Comments
By Laotionne — On Apr 29, 2014

Anyone or any company that owns one of these commercial trash com[actors has to be very careful about making sure that no one gets injured. The machines can sometimes be mistaken for ordinary trash dumpsters.

I recently read an article about a man who was killed by one of the compactors, and the company that the compactor belonged to was sued by the man's family. The company was eventually help responsible for the death, and ordered to pay the family a large financial settlement.

By Feryll — On Apr 29, 2014

@Drentel - Not all industrial trash compactors require that someone is there to operate for eight hours a day, or ever how many hours you are working.

You should do a bit more research. Some of the smaller machines are very easy to operate and require little to no skill. as long as you follow directions and are careful. Some of these are lined with bags so that the garbage can be sealed in the bag and then dropped from the bottom of the compactor.

These machines can be very efficient, safe and will probably save your company money in the long run.

By Drentel — On Apr 28, 2014

I am considering buying an industrial compactor, but I have heard that they can be complicated to operate. In my business, we come in contact with dangerous garbage such as broken glass and other hazardous debris from construction work sites.

I thought purchasing a compactor would be relatively simple, but I have now heard that operating a compactor may mean I have to hire someone with experience whose sole job would be to handle the compactor.

I am not looking to add another full-time employee. The price of the compactor is as big of an investment as I can afford at the moment.

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