Reducing waste is something that any company wants to do. The problem is that waste is not glamorous so it usually gets put on the back burner when cost reduction and streamlining initiatives are being considered. This can sometimes mean that Waste Equipment such as Industrial Trash Compactors is long overdue at a facility by the time it is actually implemented. Mismanaged waste can have tremendous negative side effects or trickle down effects. Oftentimes businesses get into a habit of handling trash a certain way that is very much inefficient and these routines continue to prevail even though it is easy to see that the business is just a decision away from saving 15 – 50% per year on their annual waste hauling costs. Aside from their obvious benefits, industrial trash compactors have many side benefits as well. And without assessing the overall needs of an individual business, purchasing options can seem muddled and worthless. Consider the following things before implementing industrial trash compactors:
The typical volume capacity, density and other characteristics of wastes vary from industry to industry and location to location within an industry. It is fairly logical that waste streams or trash profiles with the highest air content achieve the highest benefits from compaction. Since trash profiles can vary considerably within the same industry (and even within the same exact market segment) the compaction benefits derived from trash compactors will also vary accordingly. Some basics are as follows:
There are numerous types of Commercial Trash Compactors (or waste compactors) including Indoor Trash Compactors, Outdoor Trash Compactors, Automatic Compacting Receptacles (such as the Smart-Pack), High Rise Compactors, Bin Compactors, Compacting Dumpsters, Stationary Compactors, Self-Contained Compactors, Pre-Crushers, Specialty Compactors and others. The compaction benefits or volume reduction benefits of various types of waste equipment can vary widely, from a range of approximately 25 to 1 down to a range of about 2 to 1. Generally speaking, the Indoor Trash Compactors average a range of up to 25 to 1 compaction ratio down to around 10 to 1. Compactors such as the Automatic Compacting Receptacles (i.e. Smart-Pack) can be used indoor or outdoor and can average anywhere from 15 to 1 compaction ratio down to around 8 to 1. The Outdoor Trash Compactors average a range of 5 to 1 compaction ratio down to around 2 to 1. Thus, a Commercial Trash Compactor can help to reduce waste disposal costs and waste hauling requirements as a direct result of the volume reduction benefits.
Automatic Compacting Receptacles (Smart-Pack) usually have a holding capacity of about 20 – 25 gallons of loose trash (or roughly .10 – .12 cubic yards). Regular Indoor Trash Compactors usually range from about 25 gallon capacity (.12 cubic yards) up to around 55 gallons (.27 cubic yards). The larger indoor compactors have inside containers with approximate dimensions that is roughly 34” W x 22” D x 17” H. By multiplying the three dimensions, this equals approximately 12,716 cubic inches, divided by 231 (since there are 231 cubic inches in each gallon) for a result of approximately 55 gallons. Hi-Rise Compactors can vary but usually start in the range of roughly 40 gallon capacity and go up from there. Of course the 40 gallon capacity is compacted trash so that actual volume of loose trash is roughly 600 – 1000 gallons or roughly 3 – 5 cubic yards of loose trash. Outdoor compactors usually have a holding capacity of anywhere from 2 – 5 cubic yards, which includes vertical outdoor compactors, stationary compactors outdoor compacting dumpsters and others. However, additional holding capacity can be added to some types of compactors such as the stationary compactors, which are made to work in conjunction with larger containers. The containers (usually ranging from 30 – 40 cubic yards) are attached to the compactor in order to accumulate the compacted trash. Basically the stationary compactors have a chamber capacity that is usually in the 2 – 5 cubic yard range that serves as the area for compacting the trash, and then as it is compacted it is pushed into the larger container area for accumulation and subsequent pick-up by the hauler.
Using a compaction ratio (or volume reduction) of approximately 20 to 1 as an example, certain basics can be derived. Applying this compaction ratio and using the larger indoor compactors (as an example) this would mean that (theoretically) the equivalent of approximately 30,000 gallons of compacted trash could be placed into the same space that 1,616 gallons of loose trash would normally occupy. (i.e. 8 yd dumpster normally holds 1,616 gallons (202 gallons per cubic yards x 8) multiplied by 20 (20 to 1 compaction ratio) which actually equals 32,000 gallons or roughly 600+ of the 50-gallon bags of compacted waste. (This would be assuming that the full space of the dumpster is utilized perfectly of course). In this example, each cubic yard of dumpster space, would hold the equivalent of roughly 75 of the 50 gallon bags of compacted waste (versus roughly 4 of the 50 gallon bags of loose trash per cubic yard).
As mentioned previously, since densities and air content of various types of waste streams vary, the compaction benefits and volume reduction capabilities will also vary. The more ‘air volume’ or air space in the trash profile, the greater the compaction benefits. Waste that contains a lot of air, such as cups and cartons achieves a much higher reduction ratio from compaction. With a consistent waste stream it is easy to extrapolate more reliable data and expectations. To be conservative (in figuring expectations of compaction benefits) it may be appropriate to assume a lesser compaction ratio. For example, figure the compaction ratio at 15 to 1 and adjust the numbers accordingly.
Since the larger Indoor Trash Compactors have inside containers that are equal to approximately 55 gallons, when the waste is compacted, these inside containers could conceivably hold the equivalent capacity of roughly 1,100 gallons of compacted waste. (i.e. approximately 20 of the 50 gallon bags of trash versus just 1 of the 50 gallon bags of loose, non-compacted trash). Since one cubic yard of dumpster space equals 202 gallons, roughly 3.5 of these compacted cubes of waste will fit into one cubic yard (i.e. 202 gallons divided by 55 gallon capacity of the inside cube = 3.67 compacted cubes per cubic yard). This is assuming these trash cubes are packed perfectly within the dumpster space area, which is not practical of course. But, if each of the compacted cubes was packed perfectly in a dumpster, then an 8 yard dumpster would, on average, hold roughly 30 cubes of compacted waste from these compactors (i.e. 3.67 X 8 YD). And each cube would hold roughly 1,000 gallons of trash (at a 20: reduction ratio ‘trash profile’).