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What Is a Trash Compactor, and How Does it Work?

We can only imagine how you dread those moments when you have to take your trash out. Dealing with trash daily is something you would rather avoid. Luckily, you can use a simpler method to make this chore faster and more efficient, thanks to the trash compactor.

What Is a Trash Compactor?


A trash compactor is a machine that reduces the size of your garbage to make it more manageable. It has an electric motor that drives an axial-piston pump and hydraulic pressurized side walls to compact waste. The pressure of the hydraulic system provides the power to compress the garbage to save space. 


Trash compactors are used in homes to reduce the amount of space a person takes up when throwing out their trash. The compactor has two parts: a chamber and an arm. Waste enters through the chamber, where it is compressed with hydraulic pressure from the arm. This process makes it so that more waste can fit into less space, saving you time and money.


How Does a Trash Compactor Work?


A trash compactor’s working mechanism is simple:


  1. The waste is placed in the chamber. 


  1. Once inside, a plate compresses it from each side to force out excess air. 


  1. A blade inserted between the plates cuts and seals off any remaining debris so that no gases or liquids can escape through there. This also helps speed up the process because there is less to pump out when you have less air in the chamber.


  1. The arm presses on the plate and forces all of it into a tightly packed cube. The cubes are usually about two feet wide by three feet long and one foot high (60cm x 90cm x 30m) or even smaller, depending on your model’s specifications.


  1. Once the trash has been compacted, the chamber opens up to make removal quick and easy.


What Should Not Go Into a Trash Compactor?


Before you start using your new machine, it’s important to know what not to put in there. The following items are hazardous or even deadly if put in a compactor: 


  • Food waste – Food waste can attract rodents and insects if not disposed of quickly. If you have a compactor, it is best to use one specifically for food waste or composting to avoid putting your family at risk from these pests. 


  • Garbage with sharp objects such as needles or broken glass 


  • Chemicals, paints and other hazardous materials – These can be dangerous to your health if they leak due to pressure from the machine. They also damage the unit itself because of corrosive properties that lower its lifespan.


  • Flammable & Explosive Materials – Flammable wastes such as oily rags, alcohol or gasoline can catch fire and cause a dangerous situation. Explosives like fireworks are dangerous to have around in the first place, so it’s best not to throw them away at home.


What Should Go Into a Trash Compactor?


The following items are safe to dispose of in a trash compactor: 


  • Cardboard – Cardboard boxes can be easily crushed into small pieces using the machine. It would be best if you always flattened them before you throw them away to take up less space and create fewer creases that could attract pests. Do not put wet cardboard in the compactor as it will take longer to dry and, in turn, create more greenhouse gases. 


  • Plastic – Plastics can be compressed easily without sharp edges that could damage your machine or cause injury. Do not mix different types of plastic because they might interact with each other in a way you don’t want them to, such as melting. 


  • Metal – Metal is a great thing to throw in your compactor because it breaks down quickly and takes up less space than when you first put it in there. Metals can be different colors that may stain the garbage bag, but this shouldn’t happen if you cut off any paint or labels before throwing them away. Just make sure you separate metal types because putting certain ones together can cause unwanted reactions.


  • Paper – Waste paper is great for compacting because it breaks down quickly and efficiently. Shredded documents are especially good to put in there, but make sure they aren’t wet before doing so. Wet paper will take longer to dry, which means more greenhouse gases are released into the air.


  • Glass – It is vital to have glass in your compactor because it breaks down well and also takes up less space than intact glassware would. Make sure you separate different colors of glass, especially if they’re not clear, as this can cause unwanted reactions like melting or mixing. 


Why Should I Buy a Trash Compactor?


Getting a trash compactor can benefit you in a number of ways: 


Healthier & Safer Home – A compactor will reduce the amount of waste in your trash can. This reduces the disposal frequency and subsequently fewer trips outside with smelly, dirty bags. This is much healthier for everyone living inside. 


-Less Expensive Trash Disposal – You can save a lot of money by reducing the amount of waste you put out to get picked up. Not only does this mean you don’t have to pay as much, but it also means fewer trips for garbage trucks which reduces their carbon footprint too. This is great news for your wallet and the environment.


-Quicker & Easier Disposal – Trash compactors can reduce the amount of time it takes to get rid of your garbage because they make everything small and dense so that you can fit more in one bag. The process is also comparatively quick because there’s less sorting involved when disposing of materials, meaning a faster turnover rate.


-Less Storage Space Needed – Trash compactors will save you a lot of storage space because they reduce the size and weight of your trash bags. This is great for those with limited space as it helps them maximize what little room they have available to use. 


-Reduces the amount of garbage going into landfills –  If you get rid of your trash in the most efficient way possible, it means less garbage is sent to landfills. This means more space for future generations and fewer greenhouse gases being released into the air.


With a trash compactor at home, trash management becomes much easier and more streamlined. Getting one is a great idea for any home or business that produces large amounts of garbage every month. There are various types and brands in the market today. Go for what works for you based on your budget and preference.


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