How to Use an Industrial Trash Compactor

by Global Trash Solutions

Using a modern commercial trash compactor is easy and safe once you understand the dos and don’ts. With a little training, any of your staff can learn how to use an industrial trash compactor safely and effectively.

How Does a Commercial Trash Compactor Work?


There are many different commercial grade trash compactor models you might use in your business. Depending on size and space considerations, you might have a vertical, horizontal, chute-fed, or hopper system. All of these commercial garbage compactors operate in much the same way.

The compactor is loaded with trash either by hand or by feeding system. When the amount of trash reaches the waste compactor’s capacity, a ram compresses the trash into a compact cube for disposal. Some systems cycle automatically, while others require an operator to press a button. Safety systems protect users by preventing commercial trash compactor operation if doors are open.

Commercial Waste Compactor Best Practices

Learning how to use a trash compactor only takes a few minutes, but there are some best practices to follow. Refer to the manual provided when you buy your trash compactor for detailed instructions, but in general you will:

  • Place commercial or household trash in the bin or ram area, or monitor the level in a chute fed system.
  • Place large pieces of trash in the center, and bottles or glass on the bottom.
  • Compress the load when the bin is about 50% full.
  • Close the doors or engage locking mechanisms.
  • Visually confirm that the bin area is ready for compacting and alert persons nearby.
  • Press the button(s) to allow the ram to compress the load; some systems require more than one button or a foot pedal and button combination.
  • When the compression cycle is complete, eject the compacted trash cube or compactor bag onto a dolly or forklift and store for pickup or recycling.

Commercial Trash Compactor Safety Procedures

These tips for safe industrial waste compactor usage will help you train staff to use the system effectively:

  • Formally train your staff and provide compactor training resources like posters or handouts as a reminder of safe operating procedures.
  • Post signage that outlines basic trash compactor troubleshooting and who to contact for breakdowns or commercial compactor maintenance.
  • Provide a pole or rod that staff can use to adjust the load in the bin if needed, and direct staff to never climb into the bin area for any reason.
  • Make clear that the equipment cannot be operated with the door open, and that the door should never be opened while the compactor is running.
  • Train staff to visually confirm that doors are closed and locked prior to operation, rather than depending entirely on safety systems to prevent accidents.

Add additional layers of safety, including physical barriers, safety harnesses, and keeping the compactor room locked, which are all good additions to your industrial garbage compactor guidelines for staff.

What Can Go in Your Industrial Trash Compactor?

By reducing the volume of waste your facility generates, a compactor is an important part of commercial waste reduction strategies. Almost all of your facility, retail, or industrial waste can go into your commercial trash compactor. You can safely reduce the amount of waste to be handled, saving time and money on storage and hauling costs.

You can safely compress all of these types of trash:

  • Paper and cardboard
  • Cans and bottles
  • Plastic containers and packing materials
  • Metal scraps, wood, and textiles
  • Trash bags from office or staff areas

There are some materials that should NOT be placed in your commercial trash compactor, including:

  • Flammable and explosive materials
  • Chemicals
  • Regulated medical or hazardous waste
  • Batteries
  • Large quantities of liquids
  • Raw meat or seafood

Selecting Commercial Trash Compactors

Trash Compactors

As your business grows, you may need to consider adding new equipment or choosing a reliable waste management consultant and compactor service provider. You might choose to install a new waste compactor for the environmental impact or to reduce your waste management costs.

Global Trash Solutions (GTS) partners with businesses nationwide to provide commercial waste management solutions that are green, scaleable, and cost-effective. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and see how GTS can compact your problems and enhance your bottom line while reaching your business sustainability goals.

Recent Post

Which Commercial Compactor Is Right for Your Business?

When it comes to managing commercial waste, choosing the right trash compactor can…

Read More >

Renting vs Financing a Commercial Compactor

When considering using a commercial compactor for waste management in your business, one…

Read More >