Trash compactor

panzer1August 13, 2012

I'm looking for peoples experiences on trash compactors. Is there one that you loved or hated and why? Is it something that is necessary, or is it not worth the extra money/loss of storage?

We are rebuilding on our acreage and since we have to haul our own garbage, we are thinking a trash compactor would be nice, but want to hear others experiences with some before we commit! The reviews I've seen so far talk about the plastic bags ripping (if you've experienced this, is it small tears that aren't an issue when you take the trash out or is the bag falling apart and the garbage falling all over the floor!)

How much does it actually compact? Is it an appliance worth spending money on or does it not really compress the trash? Is smell an issue? Does it compact when once before you take the trash out or is everytime you put something in?

Thanks in advance for your time

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bags ripping: small tears. You need to be somewhat careful when installing the bag to get it fully seated in the container so that the sides won't rip.

The bag will be heavy to lift and carry. They usually come with a carrying strap thingy that goes underneath the bag when you put it in the container.

Yes it compresses. You can get several (10?) kitchen bags-worth of uncompressed stuff into an single compactor bag. That's why the bags get heavy to lift and carry.

You do a compaction cycle when the trash reaches the top of the bag. I used to put a paper plate on top or somesuch. Mine (Kenmore) had a switch setting where the compactor plate went down and stayed. This kept things compressed.

Smell will be an issue if you put wet garbage in it. I stopped doing that cuz it got real gross.

I"ve actually stopped using it since my trash company does mixed recycling (paper, plastic, glass, cans all in one). I found that more than 50% of my trash goes to recycling. Compressing all that would make for heavy bags and a container I could not move.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 3:43PM
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I like my garbage to go out more often than a compacted container would accumulate. When it needs cleaning, it is more bother than washing out a plastic bin. Although I would contest the "10" bags of uncompressed stuff, even the equivalent of 2-3 can get a bit heavy.

It doesn't eat any more space, if you would have a garbage pullout in a base cabinet anyway.

If you are paying a lot for garbage service, and cannot fit what you have in the can(s), it may be worthwhile for you. My wife has one now, and we aren't putting one in the remodeled kitchen.

Bags ripping has not been a real problem - I'm sure there are better and worse brands of bags.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 3:58PM
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We installed our first one in 1985 - before recycling became commonplace. With 3 kids and 3 large dogs it was a great decision. I never had any problems lifting it, the bags seldom ripped if installed properly, and it saved me many, many trips to the outside garbage cans and reduced the number of cans that we needed.

Food items that were wet or might smell went in a small trash bin under the kitchen sink. And obviously we didn't compact glass but we did compact cans, empty 40 pound dog food bags, and lots of cereal boxes. Now the kids are grown and out of the house we still use the compactor for those items that can't be recycled and only empty it once or twice a month.

The unit only compacts when you turn the switch to 'compact.' In your situation I think it would be perfect.

Both of our units were GE. The first one lasted almost 5 years and was replaced under an extended warranty. The unit still worked, but a small plastic piece that kept the door shut broke and GE no longer made that door style and they didn't have any parts left. They replaced it with another GE Profile and that one is over 15 years old.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 4:46PM
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I'm a single guy and have had a Kenmore brand compactor for almost 10 years. I only use paper bags in the unit and have never had a rip. All food waste goes down the disposal except for steak and pork bones which I just wrap in foil or a baggie. I have gotten into the habit of rinsing milk cartons, take out trays, and other food soiled items and have never had a smelly compactor. To me it's worth the extra steps as I live on the third floor and only have to take out the trash every 2 weeks.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 8:38PM
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Do you have the ability to recycle? Do your compost? If you do both, then very little actual trash is produced. Glass, plastic, and cans go to the recycler, and all vegetable and meat scraps (yes, really!) can be composted, especially if you add all of the actual available paper (browns) that you may be currently tossing. (95% of everything today is printed with biodegradable soy inks). Can wrappers, paper towels, magazines, newspapers...all of that goes into the compost heap. And your garden will thank you!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 8:49PM
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Our 1986 house came with a GE compacter that broke. I replaced it with a Kenmore Elite in the late 1990s, and it works fine. Given its age, it is not a predictor as to how well the newer TCers will work.

We compost and recycle anything and everything we can, so we never put food in it. Large food scraps from plates go in a more standard trash can under the kitchen sink. The TC sees the drycleaning bags, that hard plastic packaging stuff from purchases like batteries, etc. Therefore, we don't have any smells and it only gets emptied once every month or two. Or three. It works great for our purposes, and shines like a star on Xmas day for compacting all the gift wrap paper.

When we begin our remodel, we will remove it and not replace it. They're not popular anymore in our area. Given your situation, I think it would be a convenient thing to have.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 9:47PM
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Any such compactors out there that do recycling and trash in one go? I'm envisioning a 24" wide dual-zone compactor with one bag for each... I would find that interesting.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 1:01PM
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Never heard of one.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 2:47PM
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My Whirlpool TC is 10 years old. We had to replace the front control panel a couple of years ago. Figured out on line what the problem was, ordered the part for $65 and fixed it ourselves.

We live in the country with once weekly trash service. We don't recycle or compost. We put in a new bag once a week. I do put scraps in ours but wrap all food items in a plastic grocery bag. Rinse milk cartons and meat trays. Maybe a dozen times in 10 years have we had a stink problem that resulted in changing the bag before it was time.

The bags I use come from Lowes and they do rip a little at the top towards the end of the week when the bag is getting full but it's not a problem.

Some models have a ram that will stay compressed. Mine does not. When it starts to get full I'll stop the compacting cycle when the ram is at it's lowest point and leave it there till the next time I need to open the tc. This makes sure the trash STAYS compressed.

YES, I would buy another! Not something I want to be without. It requires some degree of maintenance like anything else. I used to take my plastic trashcans outside and wash them. Occasionally I need to spray the inside of the tc and wipe it down. So, two thumbs up from me :)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 8:13PM
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