Compactors are similar to industrial balers in that they reduce waste, but are typically used for non-recyclable materials in order to save space in landfills and other trash disposal locations. Compactors tend to be smaller than balers and result in more compact bundles of waste at the end of the process. Specific types of compactors include trash compactors for residential, commercial or industrial purposes, compactors fitted into the back of garbage trucks to conserve space and compactors that are designed for specific materials.
Most waste materials such as textiles, food products, containers, metals, plastics and fibrous materials can be processed with compactors, however hazardous materials such as aerosol cans, batteries and chemicals should be disposed with an approved method. Recycling is an important way for manufacturers to reduce the carbon footprint of industrial activity, and compactors remain an integral part of this.
A large chamber, an electric motor and a hydraulic or pneumatic press are the three main components of a compactor. Industrial compactors can have manual or automated loading functions from a large input area which is able to handle large volumes of waste material. The input area feeds the waste material into the chamber where it is pounded and compacted under great pressure from the press.
Using a hydraulic press minimizes the energy lost in the process and reduces the heat produced by the machine. Industrial compactors usually produce bales of compressed materials, while commercial or residential compactors are more likely to use bags or bins to store compressed waste until disposal. The compressed material is then ready for transport to a permanent disposal location, or to a recycling facility to be reused.
Factories, hotels, schools, medical centers and manufacturing facilities typically have a compactor on the premises for ease of access and minimal transport costs. While the initial expense of purchasing a compactor may seem high, there are many advantages to using compactors onsite. For example, they help to minimize odor and vermin problems, reduce the frequency of required waste removal, eliminate spillage and leaks from overflowing waste containers and improve standards of housekeeping around a facility.