Does Your Kitchen Need a Trash Compactor?

Published: 03rd August 2012
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Tired of nightly trips out to the trash cans only to worry about neighborhood cats or other critters knocking over the cans and spreading your discarded trash all over your yard? By installing a trash compactor you can manage your household waste and reduce your trips outside as well as reducing the amount of trash bags going to the landfill. Not only that, you can essentially eliminate the kitchen trash can which is often a receptacle for germs and smells as much as trash. And no kitchen trash can means no enticing smells for rodents and pests.

When considering a trash compactor, there are two basic models. You can choose from a freestanding unit or a model that installs right under your kitchen counter. The functionality of both models is basically the same. So the choice can be based on your personal style and taste.

If remodeling you kitchen isn't currently an option, a freestanding model that stays in the garage might be a good choice for you. Freestanding models have a finished top and can be used for additional counter space.

Under-the-counter models can be installed right between your cabinets and under your existing (or newly replaced) kitchen counter. Trim kits are available to give you that finished built-in look. Convertible models are available that will work either as freestanding or under-the-counter.

Trash compactors are appliances that compact household, usually kitchen waste thus reducing the overall amount of trash.

The power and size of the trash compactor will dictate the ratio of how much trash you can compact. Generally they work to reduce four bags of trash to one, or in some cases six bags of trash to one.

But keep in mind that just because they're smaller bags, they still weigh the same. So six bags of compacted trash will be considerably heavier than one bag of non-compacted trash, sometimes weighing as much as fifty pounds.

While the concept of a trash compactor does allow you to take out the trash less frequently, keep in mind that over an extended period of time, you're going to have odor problems.

You should be recycling your glass and cans, but if you insist on tossing them, you'll need a larger motor and a more rugged unit to handle those items.

Features available on trash compactors include anti-jam features, odor management and features that make it easier to open and remove a compacted bag. There are also sound dampening packages available, but you're not going to completely eliminate the noise factor.

For best results use the properly-sized compactor bags that are specifically designed for you unit.

Here are some basic safety tips for using your trash compactor.

Never place any of these into the trash compactor: poisonous chemicals, flammable chemicals or explosive chemicals. It would seem like these instructions are obvious, but we're not always thinking when we're tossing out the trash. And never try to compact paint cans or aerosols.

Keep small children away from the trash compactor. The compactor will have a crushing force that ranges from 2,000 to 5,000 lbs. Anything, including toys or the family cat, will be completely crushed when compressed. The compactor is not a toy.

When cleaning the trash compactor always wear gloves. That's just a safety and health precaution. You've discarded food and trash and it's a prime place for bacteria to grow. Make sure you unplug the unit before you clean it. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions to remove the bag and bin. Clean the inside and outside with warm soapy water. And don't forget to replace the air freshener or charcoal filter as recommended.


Lawrence Reaves writes for Hamilton Beach a kitchen appliance company that offers a wide selection of kitchen appliances. For more information on kitchen appliances visit this site.

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