How to buy a trash compactor

October 15, 2014

In a day when more municipalities are charging for excess bags of garbage, trash compactors have a renewed charm. Who wouldn’t want to turn six bags of garbage into one neat, nine-kilogram bag? Not only does it reduce landfill, it cuts back on the number of trips you have to make to your garbage can.
At one time trash compactors had a bad rap for their noise and garbage odours. New units, however, work quieter and come with smell-reduction capabilities, which may be a slot for a charcoal filter or a built-in odour-reduction disc that you replace every six months.

How to buy a trash compactor

What are the basic types?

Ranging in cost from $600 to $1,300, trash compactors are either freestanding units or under-the-counter models. Freestanding compactors have finished tops so you can extend your counter space. Some companies make cutting boards to fit the tops. There are also “convertible” trash compactors that can work either way and can be used either freestanding or under the counter.

How big?

Before buying a trash compactor you should measure your space and determine the size that will fit best. Generally speaking, compactors range in width from 30 to 38 cm, in height up to 89 cm, and in depth from 61 to a little more than 62 cm.

How much force?

In buying a trash compactor, you will want to know its capacity and compression force. The force is measured by how many bags of garbage are compacted into one. Residential compactors range in ratio from 4:1 to 6:1. While the larger ratio sounds great, keep in mind that the load will be quite heavy (watch your back!) and you will need special sturdy bags to contain it. If you’re going to compact a lot of glass and cans, you’ll need a more powerful motor and rugged unit.

Is it green?

While compactors do reduce trash volume by up to 80 per cent, they do not replace reducing, recycling and composting efforts. And some critics claim that trash is so tightly compacted that it slows down decomposition in landfills. That said, you can make the process more environmentally friendly by using biodegradable compactor bags.

You should also note that a trash compactor is not the same as a garbage or food waste disposal unit, which crushes and eliminates meat, bones, vegetable matter and other foodstuff as you scrape off dinner plates.

Other things to look for

Take a look at what accident-prevention system it has in place. Does it have anti-jam and tilt sensors? How well does its noise-dampening system work? And finally, how easy is it to open the compactor and remove the bag?

Take these points into consideration when trying to decide if a trash compactor is something that's right for your home.

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