Compactors - Which Compactor is Right for Your Operation?

August 01, 2021
Wastequip OptiPak Compactor

By: Greg Shields, Steel Product Manager at Wastequip

Retailers, warehouses, supermarkets, construction sites, school buildings, medical facilities, manufacturing plants, if you can think of an application in either the commercial or industrial sectors, chances are they rely on continuous service from dependable, reliable waste handling equipment. And perhaps no other piece of equipment is more valuable onsite than a commercial compactor. 

Commercial compactors are available in various sizes to suit different applications and deliver high performance and consistent results, year after year. Which commercial compactor is right for your application? Keep reading to find out. 

But first, why a commercial compactor? The management of waste is an essential part of almost every industry. The collection, handling, storage, and removal of waste can be a costly, dangerous and downright unsightly proposition for many commercial establishments to handle. That's where a commercial compactor comes in handy.

Reduce Costs While Improving Safety and Appearance

A commercial waste compactor allows your business to decrease the size and volume of waste material through compressing and crushing. This reduces the number of waste hauls, which lowers collection costs. 

Designed with both the operator and service technician in mind, compactors are safe and simple to operate while also accessible to service. Commercial compactors also prevent unauthorized access by ensuring waste and recyclables are securely contained. This improves both safety and appearance. Below are the different types of commercial compactors to consider.

Self-Contained Compactors

Self-contained compactors are structurally integrated into the compaction container, and the entire machine is carried to and from both the collection and disposal sites. The primary application for this type of compactor is with large volumes of compactable wet waste at locations such as supermarkets, restaurants, malls, nursing homes, schools, resorts, hotels/motels, convenience stores and department stores. These compactors are ideal for these applications, as they fit in limited spaces and contain leakage. 

Self-contained compactors are serviced by a roll-off truck. The compactor and receiver container are all one complete unit. Once the receiver container is full, the entire unit is picked up (with the compactor attached), taken away for disposal, and then returned and reconnected for continued service. 


Pre-crushers reduce trash volume by demolishing large items such as pallets, appliances and other large bulky trash. As the trash is crushed, it is moved to the receiving container. When the receiving container is full, it is separated from the crusher by the hauler to transport the receiving container to the disposal site. Similar to stationary compactors in that they work in conjunction with a large container, pre-crushers provide greater force and likewise require containers that are significantly reinforced to handle the tremendous internal pressures. Pre-crushers are ideal for industries such as general manufacturing, auto, appliance, aerospace, construction, boat builders, manufactured housing and more.

Apartment Compactors

Apartment compactors fit into trash rooms of buildings where only limited space is available. These compactors are widely used in high-rise apartment buildings that use trash chutes to deliver waste and recycling materials to the collection containers at the building's lower levels. The waste materials are then compacted into containers, which are most often picked up by front-load or rear-load trucks. 

Stationary Compactors

Stationary compactors involve a ground-mounted compactor connected to a removable roll-off receiver container. These compactors are used when a higher volume of dry materials, either solid waste or recyclables, is being generated and where there is no space limitation issue onsite. These are effective in locations like offices, department stores, restaurants, hotels/motels, healthcare/medical facilities, manufacturing facilities and chain stores.

They work in conjunction with a large (usually around 40 yds) container. After the trash is compacted, it is then pushed into the container. This process repeats until the container is full. The container is then picked up by a roll-off truck. 

Essential Tools

Commercial compactors are essential tools for a wide variety of industries. From self-contained to stationary compactors, each application provides a solution that best fits your industry’s needs. By identifying whether your site will be demolishing bulky trash or consisting of mostly compactable wet waste, it will help you select the best solution. The right compactor for your site can help reduce costs and improve safety and appearance.

Greg Shields
Greg Shields, Steel Product Manager at Wastequip


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