Home Trash Compactors

Here in the United States twenty or so years ago, the hot new item for the home that had everything was a kitchen trash compactor. It occurred to me the other day that I haven’t seen an ad for one in years. Have they stopped making them? And if so, why (declining sales? environmental impact?)?

I think maybe the whole thrust of things these days is towards reducing garbage generation, instead of squeezing more into the same space at the residential source. There are recycling, vendor takeback, city composting systems, and so on. We are, of course, squeezing more in at the destination landfill.

I wouldn’t be surprise if specific municipalities disallowed them in the same way that they disallowed garburators… many Canadian municipalities disallow garburators because they overload sewage-treatment plants with nutrients; it may be that compacted garbage overloads bins and makes garbage pickup more difficult.


You can get a compactor at any appliance store. And whether you’ve seen an ad is irrelevant - when was the last time you’ve seen a specific ad for a garbage disposal, except to announce a sale?

They’re not high on my list - but I can see where they would be useful for an elderly person or someone who cooks a lot. And keep in mind these things have no impact on consumption - they just affect how often you need to run your trash to the can.

I think part of what did them in was how they convert a week’s worth of trash into one 40-pound brick that’s awkward to lift out of the compactor. And then, it’s simply a heavy lump with no convenient handles to grab it with to carry it to the trash bin.

And there’s the next thing - years ago, you could just leave the compactor bag at curbside for pickup. For the guys working the back end of the truck, it made little difference if it was a can that needed to be up-ended into the hopper or a bag that could be tossed in. Now, there aren’t so many multi-man crews on garbage trucks, and the arm that grabs your bin and dumps it can’t pick up anything that’s not in a bin.

Where do you live?

Trash compactors are as popular today as they were tweny years ago.

(Discontinue thread, please?)

In the Washington area, trash compactors are largely absent from new-home construction. Watch the kitchen renovations on HGTV – there’s almost never a trash compactor.

I suspect that one reason they didn’t catch on more is because taking out the garbage means that you’re living with the same garbage for a longer time, which might cause issues of odor sometimes. Also, they’re often just inconvenient to open and close, as compared to the foot pedal of a conventional kitchen trash can.

I had one in a house I had about 10-15 years ago. I loved it! As a family of four, we only had to take out one bag a week. It closed very securely and did not stink up the house. They still sell them. You can get a free-standing version or a built-in.

I’m building a new house in Montana and I will have to haul the garbage to a transfer site 10 miles away. I am putting in a trash compactor so that I can reduce the number of trips I have to make to the transfer station. It’s definitely not a necessity but a “nice to have”. Given the cost of the house it’s a small luxury I am willing to spend money on… others might think it’s a waste.

I saw a trash compactor featured in an ad on TV just a couple of weeks ago.

Of course, it was an ad for a fishing rod, but still …

I have a trash compactor – it’s awesome. I’d never had one, and looked at them skeptically, until I bought a house ten years ago that had one in the kitchen. When we bought a our current house and remodeled the kitchen, we put one in. I love it.

BC (Before trash Compactor), we had to take out the garbage nearly every day from our small kitchen can. Now it goes out 1-2 times a week. Very seldom is there a problem with stinkage (we’re careful to wrap any meat scraps, same as BC when they got thrown in the regular can). The bags you put in (Costco sells them) are tougher than a regular garbage bag, and they have handles, so toting the trash out isn’t a big deal. The crusher has two modes – normal and “compact”; the latter keeps the boot down until you twist the dial a second time – very useful if you have a bunch of things that pack and then pop back up, like odd packaging bits.

As far as “people make less trash these days” – maybe, maybe not. This makes whatever trash you generate less of a hassle, and it does fill up eventually.

Mine has a foot pedal to open. I think they all do.

How does it not stink up the house? When I just open the lid to my garbage can in the garage, it stinks up the garage. When you’re compressing the garbage, gas has to be coming out to make it smaller, right? Doesn’t the stink come with it?

I’ll repeat: we don’t really have a problem with stinkies, esp if the compactor is drawer closed; it seems to seal up really well and contain any stink. If we open it and “bleargh!” smell comes out, its time to take out the trash. But the stink is really infrequent. Mostly there’s no stink, and you empty it when it gets hard to push the drawer in.

Also, probably unlike your garage garbage can, you line the compactor with bag, and you empty it by pulling out the bag, same as your tall kitchen can. If you just threw crap into an unlined TC, things would get pretty gross. Luckily, nobody (well, nobody with sense) does that. A TC also holds probably far less than your garage garbage can.

ETA: there is a filter on the TC, and even a little “circulate” button on the front, presumably to suck the odors back in, but we never use it.

Which is to say “not much”. The difference is that then they were new. Now they are one of those things which a few people like and most people do not find too useful.

It would do nothing for me. My system is: packaging in general goes directly to the garbage but conveniently torn and compressed by hand.

Then I have a mini garbage can on the counter lined with a bag like that of bread or newspaper (long & narrow). Anything organic like food leftovers go in there. When full or before it begins to smell (maybe a day in hot weather maybe two or even three in very cold weather) it is sealed, compressed by hand, probably packaged again in some odd plastic bag in the garbage and then, thus completely sealed, placed in the regular garbage where it does not smell at all.

This means that my garbage can go for a week or ten days before being taken out and that it is quite compacted and that it does not smell.

I am often surprised by the messy and smelly garbage bins in other people’s kitchens. I keep my garbage quite tidy.

We had a trash compactor in our kitchen when we moved into our new home decades ago. Rarely used it. We composted or recycled a lot of our waste and never found the appliance very necessary. When we finally remodeled the kitchen, a trash compactor never entered the design at all. Not a single kitchen expert had it in their design either. When we went appliance shopping, no one even whispered trash compactor in our ears. Instead of a compactor we now have extra storage space!

In Japan, the big thing in trash processing is a little machine where you stick all your kitchen waste (non-kitchen waste is separated and recycled according to local ordinances). My model of kitchen waste processor then slices and dices while heating the garbage to 150C, removing water and presumably killing bacteria. The advantage is that the garbage now takes up much less space and is not sitting in a bag stinking up the apartment. This model claims to be able to handle all kitchen waste created by a family of 3 for one month, meaning only once monthly kitchen waste disposal.

To control odor, it claims to use “Nanoplasma Catalytic Agents” (whatever the heck those are) supposedly destroying harmful bacteria and cutting 99.5% of odor. Japanese companies are no stranger to fancy buzzwords and technobabble, either, it seems.

The last two houses we bought had them; we kept the dog food in them.

Utterly useless appliances; the bags cost a fortune, they use needless energy, and they are perfectly designed to strain your lower back.

I walk past my trash cans twice a day; why would I need to bring the trash out less often?

(I have been wondering if I could use one to compact yard waste and burn it in my chiminea.)

Trash compactors have fallen from favor with many kitchen designers as they are considered unsanitary and difficult to clean when problems occur.

What the heck is a garburator? Sounds like something you’d put on your car so that you could run it off of garbage!

(on second thought, it’s probably what’s called a “garbage disposal” in the US- a grinder gizmo that is inline with your sink drain)

I used to have one. I spent the 2-5 bucks a bag (in the 80s) until I just started using regular trash bags. they worked just as well.

From what I’ve seen, these are mainly popular with people who don’t get garbage pick up. The people I know who have them live in more rural areas where you have to bring your own trash to the dump.