As you might already know, the trash compactor doesn’t enjoy the same popularity it used to get in the past, and there are reasons for this.
Some people even have kitchen trash compactors inside their homes and have no idea what they would have to use them for. Some people don’t even know how one looks or don’t even remember the last time they saw one. But what do people have against trash compactors? Why are they so rare nowadays?
The first commercial trash compactor was patented in 1941 by M.S. Wells and was made to make crushing oil cans easier. John A Boyd was the next to file a patent, this time for a household trash compactor that was meant to use hydraulic pressure from a direct water source. This was done around the year 1970. It was thought to allow all of the garbage to be crushed and then turned into a bundle that would be more easily disposable. Next, John Bauer worked on improving this design, and in 1991 created two compartments, one for recyclable trash and one for non-recyclable items. Nowadays, trash compactors are made even smarter. They are able to store more trash, control any leaking odors and handle dry and wet waste separately.
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Over the years, these kitchen trash compactors have started to lose their popularity and their sales dropped considerably. The sales of trash compactors decreased by almost 50% between 1988 and 1992, from 243,000 units to less than 126,000. The kitchens that owned such units dropped under 3.5% across the US by 2009. The primary reason why these systems are used less and less is that they fail to live up to their potential in modern kitchens. This is despite most appliance manufacturers still having them for sale to this day.
There were some other reasons why trash compactors were rejected by the public, the price being another one to note (it costs almost $1,000 to have one bought and installed in your kitchen). Another disadvantage was the huge space they occupied in the kitchen, a space that consumers weren’t prepared to just give up for such a small convenience. The compacted trash was made into a rectangular-shaped package that was hard and heavy and most of the time didn’t fit in the normal round garbage bins. The weight was also disproportionate to the size of the trash package because all of the trash was compacted, leading to an increased density, something weighing more than 30 pounds. This made taking out the trash really hard for a lot of people.
Newer models of kitchen trash compactors have made an effort to fix the unpleasant odor issues by either adding an odor-reduction disk or getting a compartment for a charcoal filter. This helped a little bit, but the reputation of bad residue smell from leftovers and decomposing food waste from the compactor stuck to this device, making most people skeptical of its capabilities of actually reducing smells.
Trash compactor sellers will try to push their products on you by telling you how great they are for the environment, as they will generally decrease the overall number of trash bags that you will use and they will also reduce the volume of the trash you throw in your dumpster. This will also mean fewer trips for the garbage truck to the landfill for your trash, which in turn, will prevent those landfills from getting full, which means fewer new ones opening in time. The part that these sellers usually leave out is how the trash is very tightly compacted so its decomposition will take considerably longer.
Although the overall trend is decreasing, you will still find a lot of advocates for this trash compactor system and the only way of knowing who is right on this one is to get one for yourself and test its pros and cons.