Are you tired of taking out the trash on a daily basis? Do you want to reduce the amount of garbage in landfills? Interested in making recycling easier? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to consider investing in a trash compactor.

What is a Trash Compactor?

Now, if you’ve watched Star Wars, your frame of reference for trash compactors may be something huge, disgusting and dangerous. Lucky for you, however, the modern rendition of a trash compactor is both small and safe! 

In fact, these stand-alone machines fit easily into a kitchen. At around 15 inches wide, 34 inches tall and roughly 24 inches deep, the average kitchen trash compactor can stand easily in a corner or alongside kitchen islands (providing additional counter space), or even fit into some cabinets. Basically, it takes up about as much space as a large drawer. Trash compactors use a lot of power, though, so be sure that your compactor has direct access to an outlet.

What Does a Trash Compactor Do?

Not surprisingly, trash compactors compact trash. Trash compactors can be used to compact some recyclable materials as well (glass is not recommended), but really, compacting things is its only job. The appliance is very straightforward; you fill it up (some models recommend filling only about halfway), close the door, press start, and wait. In under a minute, your items will be compacted into a small, much more manageable “cube.”

You continue compacting trash until the bag is full. Your garbage will weigh roughly 30 pounds, depending on what you compacted, but it will be easy enough to remove from the appliance. And you’ll be removing it much less often – around once a week depending on how much waste you produce – which is a real perk!

How Does a Trash Compactor Work?

A trash compactor is very simple: It’s made up of a bin, a start button, a key (more on this in a minute) and, the piece de resistance, a metal battering ram. Now, you’ll want to be careful when loading this machine; don’t try to shove items in using your hands and feet. Doing so could damage the compactor, or worse, result in injuries to your body.

Check to make sure everything is loaded properly before turning on the compactor. Thankfully, to avoid crushed limbs or broken machinery, many compactors come equipped with safety features. For instance, some machines require a key to turn the appliance on. Others have some sort of sign, like beeping or a light, to let you know if something is wrong.

You will need to invest in special bags for a trash compactor, but this is usually a small price to pay for having to deal with less trash.

What About the Smell?

One of the most common questions when it comes to trash compactors is whether or not they smell bad. The short answer: It depends.

Some trash compactors come equipped with filters to reduce smell. If your machine doesn’t offer this option, or you find that it doesn’t work, there are other options. For instance, try laying a sheet of newspaper over your trash, which keeps the garbage from touching the metal crushing plate. Another solution is to simply avoid crushing food products in your compactor altogether, as these are the kinds of items that produce bad odors that can cling to the compactor.

How Much Will This Cost Me?

Again, it depends. On the cheap end, this appliance will set you back around $600, but if you shoot for a more expensive version – meaning it’s more powerful, smaller and/or includes a scent filter – it can run upwards of $1,400. If you opt for filters, that will be an additional cost, and the bags are more expensive than your average trash bags, though you’ll run through them much slower! 

That said, you’ll be saving money on additional trash removal and if you compact recycling, you might even be able to sell the compacted recyclables for a small profit (depending on where you live). 

Investing in a trash compactor will allow you to decrease how much space your trash will take up in a landfill, as well as the amount of time you have to spend lugging the trash out to the bin. With trash compactors being safer and easier to use than ever before, it might be worth considering one for your kitchen!

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