How Do Trash Compactors Work?

Trash compactors are actually fairly simple machines. They have a motor, a ram, and a trash container area. The ram is the part that actually crushes and compacts the trash. The ram does not go all the way down to the bottom of the compactor drawer. Most compactors need to be at least half full or more to actually compress any trash.

To operate a trash compactor, you first open the compactor door. Now load any cans, bottles or other large material into the middle of the drawer. Lay bottles and cans down on their sides. Never use your hands or feet to push items into the compactor. You also don’t want anything to get stuck between the ram and the drawer. Many compactors have a misload sensor or Drawer Monitor Switch that will help to prevent any damage to your appliance, so if there is a misload error, the ram automatically returns to the up position.

Load the trash compactor to at least half full before compacting trash. You probably don’t want to compact any food waste that is liable to cause odors, so discard as much of your food wastes as you can in either a garbage disposer or in the regular garbage.

After loading, close and lock the compactor door. Depending on your particular model of trash compactor, you will need to either push or turn a start control to begin the compacting process. The cycle begins with the ram. It is driven by the motor using either a set of reduction gears or a belt and pulley system. The ram crushes the trash and reduces it in size by up to 75%.

The trash gets compressed and stored in a compactor bag, which makes for easy disposal. You will want to make sure that you don’t crush too much trash and make it too heavy to lift out of the drawer. Your trash will take up a lot less space, but remember, it still weighs the same as it did before you compacted it.

Close supervision is recommended when this appliance is used by or around children. You should use the Lock Key Switch, and hide the key where children are not likely to find it. Do not attempt to compact any volatile or flammable materials or spray cans. Do not touch any parts that are moving. If there is any damage to this unit, do not operate it without it being inspected by a professional appliance repair person. Be careful when handling a full bag of trash. Wear gloves if possible. Sometimes broken glass or sharp metal can poke through the bag and cut you. Lastly, do not overload the compactor.

Some Manufacturer Safety Warnings. Failure to observe any of these warnings may result in serious injury or death. Read all of the instructions before using this appliance.

Close supervision is absolutely necessary when this appliance is used by or near children.
This appliance is not a toy, and should not be used as one.
Do not allow appliance to be operated unattended.
Lock the Key Switch when this appliance is not in use and hide the key where children are not able to find it.
Do not under any circumstance touch any moving parts.
Do not operate this appliance if there is any damage to the unit, especially any damage to the cord, plug, or motor.
If there has been any kind of damage to this appliance, do not use it until it has been examined by a professional appliance repair person.
Use this appliance only for the purposes for which it is intended to be used for.
Do not use any attachments unless they are manufacturer approved and recommended.
Do not compact any toxins, poisons, oily rags, insecticides, lit cigars or cigarettes, or any other hot or burning materials.
Do not overload the trash compactor.
Do not disassemble this appliance as incorrect re-assembly may cause electric shock, mutilation, or even death.
Always handle loaded compactor bags with caution as sharp objects may protrude from the bag. Many people wear thick gloves.
Household compactors are intended to be used for household trash.
Do not use extension cords for this appliance.
Use only three pronged grounded outlets and never remove the ground prong or use any adapters.

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4 responses to “How Do Trash Compactors Work?

  1. William W Haywood

    Your answer is way to simple to help me. Also, there a many trash compactors that have internal parts that people need to understand…you know…how they work to compact trash! Hydraulics, electric motors, limit switches, these are what make a compactor do its work. There is a certain timing designed into their operation so that they compact the trash and then return to do the cycle over again next time! Electrical parts have schematics to show how they are wired…etc.

  2. This blog solves my curiosity about those machines. I admit, compactors are a big help when it comes to waste management in community, business and individual sectors of a country.

  3. Almost everything normally placed in your kitchen garbage can be placed in a trash compactor, with the exception of paint, oil, aerosol cans and other such hazardous materials. Great blog! Keep on posting!

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