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trash compactors preliminary considerations checklist

Before deciding on the size and type of compactors that will best fit your needs, there are several basic considerations, including site selection (or location), that can help guide you to the right choice. In addition to the placement and space requirements of your Waste Equipment, there are other factors that can also be critical, especially if the overall benefits of the equipment are to be maximized. 

  • Base / Floor Prep - Compacting Dumpsters, Stationary Waste Compactors, Self-Contained Waste Compactors, Pre-Crushers and other outdoor trash compactors require a solid concrete base to withstand the weight and secure the equipment.  Typically, the intended location must include a suitable foundation with a minimum of 6 inches of concrete.  Of course, the size and thickness of the concrete base depends upon the total size, weight and dimensions of the trash compactor plus any container considerations.  For example, most roll-off applications require a surface dimension of 12 feet wide by 25-45 feet in length, however the compacting dumpsters have a much smaller footprint. 

  • Hauler Access - The site needs to be clear of overhead obstruction.  For example, most roll-off trucks need a minimum of 18 - 19 feet clearance in order to safely lift the container onto the truck.  Electrical Wires, phone wires and other factors need to be carefully considered. In addition, the hauler will need ample room to (safely and easily) maneuver in and out of the premises.  For compacting dumpsters it is important to know whether the hauler uses a Front Load truck (i.e. with the tipping arms in the front of the truck which raise over the cab) or Rear Load (i.e. with the tipping arms in the rear of the truck).

  • Electrical Access - The accessibility of the electrical service impacts the cost of installation.  In cases where electrical service is not feasible then Solar Powered compactors can be utilized.

  • Minimum Height Requirements: For Self Contained Compactors it is best to allow a minimum of at least 25 feet height clearance and for the small outdoor compactors that are tipped onsite it is best to allow a minimum height clearance of 30 feet. However the safest path to take is to allow at least 30 feet height clearance in the event there is a change in compactor style from one to the other.  However, another alternative is to build a 48" high metal platform that the compactor sits on which means the compactor is at the same level as the hoist on the roll-off truck (so that the compactor can be pulled directly off of the platform without having to raise the hoist). The height requirements for the smaller outdoor compactors that are tipped onsite oftentimes depend on the tipping vehicle and the size of the container but 30 feet height clearance should be sufficient. 
  • Grade - Typically, the slope of the concrete pad should be 10% - 15% or less, however a site diagram or photo is oftentimes needed in order to provide a more accurate assessment.
  • Material Flow Considerations - The site selected should be compatible with the material flow.  Improper site selection could cost you additional labor
    expenses, while proper site selection could save you substantially in labor!
  • Typical Size of the Trash Profile - The largest size of the various items that will be discarded should be considered.  This is necessary to determine the clear top opening when specifying the trash compactor.  This will help to determine the size of the waste compactor system.

  • Typical Volume of the Trash Profile - What volume is discarded now and how much is expected to be discarded in the future? If you take the time to evaluate what the current volume of trash is, this will help you greatly in deciding on the size and/or type of compactors.  For example, if you currently have a 40 yard container that is being picked up 2 times per week, then this means that your volume is roughly 80 cubic yards per week (assuming, of course, that both containers are totally full when picked up)

  • Consistency of the Trash Profile - Do you anticipate a change in the profile of your discarded materials in the near future? For example, if you are currently considering a Stationary Compactor for helping out with the cardboard and paper that makes up a majority of your trash, but you are anticipating a change in business that will also produce junk pallets and appliances in addition to the cardboard and paper, then you will need to consider a Pre-Crusher Compactor instead.

  •  The material must be able to be compacted Dense materials like blocks of wood cannot be compacted. Also, items such as 5 gallon plastic buckets will not compact very well so they should be removed from the waste stream and discarded separately.
  • Does your trash profile have a high liquid ratio? - (Some trash compactors such as the Self-Contained Waste Compactors handle wet waste much better than others.)
  • If food waste is going into the compactor, are there any codes that may require a certain frequency of hauls (This may affect your sizing considerations.)

Other Considerations (for example) that will affect site selection:

  • How will the compactor be fed? For example, Do you intend for the trash compactor to be chute fed from inside your building, either manually or with an existing (or future) air handling system?

 Contributor / Editor - Matt Kennedy - Refer questions to info@wastecare.com  

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