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2.01 million tonnes of municipal solid waste are generated annually. So, you and I might be actually generating waste anywhere between 0.11-4.5 Kg per day. So, this was about solid waste. 

The Food Waste Index 2021 published by the United Nations Environment Program estimates that the year 2019 was attributed to have been generated in the year 2019 alone. 

In cities, people manage their wastes through large trash bins. They are cleared every week. In small households, the waste generated is minuscule, and it is cleared every day. 

We depend on garbage trucks to take the trash away in their compactors. As the name suggests, a compactor reduces the size of the waste making more room for waste in landfills. Thus, it saves us from the ever-increasing span of the landfill. 

Synthetic waste like plastics and polythene take centuries to decompose. A report, 'Production, Use, and Fate of all Plastics ever Made', published on Science Advances, estimates that around 8300 million metric tonnes of plastic have been produced till now. 

6300 Mt of plastic waste has been generated till now, out of which only 9% has been recycled, 12% burnt, and 79% remains rotting in landfills damaging the environment. To our dismay, if this follows suit in the coming years, we will have around 12000 Mt of plastic waste in our landfill. 

Suppose we are to ask why this voluminous production but sloppy waste management, the reason is very disappointing. Producing and using plastics and polythene is cheaper, but recycling is expensive. 

The items to be recycled are baled and melted down at industries for making new products. Plastics and balers, and contractors are also used heavily in industries for recycling metal, wood, agricultural produce, cardboard, cloth, etc. 

Compactors let Landfills Accommodate More Waste.

Landfilling is a common solution for all the problems relating to waste disposal. Composting and Incineration are also followed wherever possible. But, all of these methods potentially damage the environment and the ecosystem. Incineration frees poisonous gases and fine particles of ash in the atmosphere. Composting, when not processed as per the norms, can cause serious after-effects due to metal contamination. 

The traditional way of landfilling starts to generate leachate that seeps in groundwater rendering it unfit for human use. A Sanitary Landfill system was introduced to contain the waste and damage that it caused. 

Sanitary Landfill System- Use of Compactors

In the Sanitary Landfill System, a thick polymer sheet is spread across the bed of the dumping site, making it impenetrable. As a result, the seepage of leachate is controlled, and the soil and groundwater beneath the landfill site are saved from irreplaceable destruction.

Covering the bed of the site with a sheet is expensive as compared to traditional filling sites. As a result, the cost of throwing waste per unit volume becomes manifold. This challenge was overcome by using trash compactors that would reduce the volume of waste so that more waste is accommodated in sanitary sites.  

Compactors- Transporting Waste, Saving Costs

Trash Compactors can come in different varieties. Based on movement, compactors are used in static and mobile mode. By reducing the volume of waste, they facilitate easy and economical transportation. 

Mobile Compactors are fairly used in developing countries for manual door to door garbage collection. They come in myriad capacities and features depending on the demographics and technology available. The smallest mobile compact container is called Skips that can hold about one tonne of waste at a time. A compactor truck can have ten Skips at a time. 

Another kind of mobile compactors is widely used in Malaysia, Palestine, India, Pakistan, China, etc. Open Trucks used for collecting and transporting garbage are RORO or Roll to Roll Off Bins or REL aka Reel End Loader. RORO and REL are more appropriate for societies having high-rise buildings, flats, and condominiums. 

Compactors lessen the weight density per unit volume to enable the same compactor to make more room and carry more waste, thus saving fuel costs, time and mechanical effort. 

Different Types of Waste Compactors- On the Basis of Waste

Trash Compactors can be classified into three segments depending upon the garbage they process. 

ACR or Automatic Compacting Receptacles

You might have dined at McDonald's, where customers are obligated to put their trash in the bin after having food. That trash bin is an ACR. They are used at dining places, airports, food courts, restaurants, malls, parks, casinos, and other public areas.  At these places, people dispose of their waste by themselves. 

They automatically compact waste that is disposed of by a customer. The garbage they process is leftovers, plastic trays, paper towels, foam cups, soda cans, etc. It can hold approximately 9.4 tons of waste before it needs to get emptied. 

Using them has saved time, labour costs, and odour problems. Some more sophisticated compactors can provide instructions when programmed to do so. ACRs come installed with odour management mechanisms. 

Regular or Indoor Trash Compactors

They are used in industries, manufacturing units, factories, hospitals, shops, kitchens, the printing industry, etc. The waste that comes in them is variegated because they are designed for receiving large amounts of garbage like bottles, papers, cardboard, medical waste, plastics, metal cans, food or any other organic item. Because of their small footprint, they are installed at places where waste generation is large. 

Outdoor Trash Compactors

They can be used in mobile and static modes. They are installed at outdoor locations like municipalities, stores, offices, parks, etc. they are easy to operate and feed. They have less cycle time as compared to other types. Some of the types of outdoor compactors that you might have seen include Dumpsters, stationary bins: self-contained dumpsters, and Vertical Outdoor compactors. 

They can process waste in these proportions -

  • Organic waste: up to 30%
  • Plastic waste: up to 25%
  • Metallic waste: up to 10%
  • Moisture Content: less

Their footprint is small, and they can be moved by a Hauler Truck that can manage load with both rear and front ends. These types of compactors are known as Hopper Compactors. 

Use of Trash Compactors is a Worldwide Phenomenon

The use of trash compactors efficiently can only be done where solid and organic waste is segregated at the origin. Therefore, the United Nations Environment Program has forwarded sustainable goals that focus on creating awareness about waste management and streamlining a waste management system in developing and under-developed countries. It is the reason why many service providers like https://www.gkcompactor.com/ are offering customized trash compactors as per your need. 

Compactors Collecting Waste in Maputo, Mozambique- A Case Study

UNEP’s Global Waste Management Outlook featured the use of Compactors in Maputo and how it has overhauled the system. Let us take a look.

Maputo’s municipality has divided the city into five districts for the mainland and other two small settlements for administration. It is responsible for collecting garbage throughout the city. Private operators conduct the collection of waste on a large scale in the city's main areas and suburban parts. They use outdoor compactors bins and compactor trucks for collection. 

Primary waste collection is manual and door to door with Skips or RORO. Small enterprises manage it. This was about the private endowment of the work. The Municipality itself partakes to collect waste from residencies in the inner circle of Maputo. People provide their waste in plastic bags. People assemble their waste at collection points from where the garbage is towed in tractors in rural areas. Bodies that produce a large amount of waste and do not have access to municipal waste collection systems take services of private collection systems recognized by the Municipality's City Council. 

The City Council wanted small-scale companies to manage the waste management. So, they executed a primary collection system to facilitate their participation. The work is to collect waste using Skips or handcarts for door-to-door collection and supplying it to a collection point. 

The purpose was to connect remote and hard to access areas with modern equipment to the public collection system. In addition, the procedure of procuring the license was simplified, and waste compactors were supplied for assisting small scale service providers. 

This model was effective due to three reasons -

  • The cost of collection is covered in the general fee levied by the municipality.
  • Fees and taxes are adjusted according to the socio-economic condition of the population
  • Big companies and enterprises shouldering the cost of waste collection for some poor areas
  • Facilitation of modern equipment for collection like waste compactors

This is a historical milestone given the poor state of economic affairs in one of the world's most poor cities. After the success of this model, it was outstretched to other parts of Maputo. As a result, more than 40 small companies are involved with the Municipality of Maputo for waste collection from approximately 1 million people living in rural and remote areas that were earlier not connected with the public collection system. 

Modern equipment has played a major role in realizing the goal. The operation rose to fame, and people started demanding the introduction in their areas too. Gradually, waste management became a political agenda at a national level. 

The case study has proved that the correct use of trash compactors can help us reduce waste on a large scale. Now, we can throw some light on several models of compactors that are available in the market. 

Special Compactors for Special Use

  1. Lamp Crusher

A lamp crusher is used for reducing the volume of traditional bulbs and white fluorescent tubes. The internal composition of the compactor is designed with high-end techniques to absorb fine dust particles and mercury vapour that is released when the bulb is crushed. 

It comes installed with HEPA or a higher-efficiency particulate air filter that works in accordance with an activated carbon filter. The compactor efficiently captures and neutralizes the mercury vapour, which can cause death due to mercury poisoning within hours if inhaled. 

Statistics show that the filter reflected zero mercury emission even after crushing around 1500 bulbs and lamps. 

Marine Use Compactors

Marine Use Compactors are specifically designed for managing waste produced on ships and boats. They are similar in appearance to standard steel compactors used in commercial places. They can compress 300 to 600 gallons of garbage before it gets filled. 

Document Shredder Plus Compactor 

Instead of letting the waste out, the conveyor takes the shredded material into the compactor. The procedure also comes with an added advantage. Earlier, the documents containing corporate secrets could be shredded, but there was a possibility of someone getting their hands on them. When shredded material is directly going to the compactor, it becomes impossible for the ink to remain legible for anyone to read. 

 Compactor Cart Combo  

These compactors feature a 'state of the art design that supports the space and safety aspects with a built-in cart. This compactor is usually positioned in utility areas or in the collecting locations of primary garbage. The integrated cart (carrying a heavy-duty polybag) gathers the compacted waste; it is easy to wheel the cart into the dump area and press a button if the compact signals are full in order to trigger the electrically driven lifting mechanism (so that the trash can be emptied into the dumpster). Before emptying, the compactor can compact around 750 gallons of unpacked waste (equivalent to almost four cubic yards). 

Portable Trash Compactors 

These types of compactors are also installed in utilities or in waste collection locations. 

A sturdy plastic container is enclosed with a hefty bag, resulting in a narrow cube of rubbish that can amount to around 1000 gallons (or around five cubic yards) of rubbish before it is emptied. These units need a separate elevator (which can sometimes be an advantage in situations where multiple compactors are purchased at the same location since the same lift cart can be utilized for all compactors).

 

The use of trash compactors can simplify the process of recycling remarkably. With continuous and collective efforts, people have become aware enough to understand how recycling is important. The need for maintenance in a year depending upon the supply of trash compressed, not to mention the tax benefits one gets. 

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