What is a Trash Compactor and How Do They Work?

A trash compactor.

A trash compactor is a great addition to any home wishing to cut down on waste. There are more advantages to having a trash compactor than disadvantages. Using a trash compactor means you do not have to take out the garbage as often and the garbage does not take up as much space.

What it Is and How it Works

A trash compactor is a tool that allows you to decrease the impact of your waste on landfills. Trash you place inside the trash compactor is crushed with a metal ram into small and manageable pieces. These pieces are disposed of in a trash compactor bag. A trash compactor is made up of very few parts. It has the metal ram which crushes the garbage, the bin where you place the garbage, and the switch which turns it on.

Basic Operation

Trash compactors are very simple items. You simply open the door of the compactor and load the bin. Bottles and cans should be placed into the bin first and should be placed on their side. Large pieces of garbage (as well as bottles and cans) should also be placed in the middle of the bin. If you load the trash compactor wrong a sensor will sound to alert you. When it is full you close the door and hit the switch.

What to Load and How

A trash compactor.

A trash compactor is a great way for you to compress your recyclables especially if you plan to sell them for scrap. This is important for aluminum cans, plastics, and cardboard products. If this isn't your goal, then you can put all of these products into the trash compactor at once. It's not recommended that you put glass into the compactor or chemicals of any kind. It is also a good idea to not put food waste into it if you're concerned with odor. Lay all bottles and cans near the center of the bin and lying down. Fill the bin so that it is 50 percent full.

Basic Operational Safety

Though a trash compactor is a simple device it is also a dangerous one. Never allow the trash compactor to be unsecured around children. There is a locking key that comes with trash compactors and should always be used and placed in a safe place. Never use any part of your body to push garbage down to make more room inside the trash compactor bin. Do not fill the trash compactor past its limits as this can cause it to jam and damage to the unit. Avoid touching any of the moving parts and never operate a unit that is already damaged. A trash compactor is a powerful appliance and requires as much power as it can get. For this reason, you should never use an extension cord on the trash compactor. You should also always use a 3-pronged outlet and never remove the grounding prong.