Dumpster or Compactor?

Weighing the Waste Management Options

For companies new to a location or looking to change their waste services, you will find that there are many options when it comes to waste management. The two overarching products you must choose from are a dumpster or a compacter. Both are viable options for any business or industry, but a decision must be made to determine which will be the better option for your unique case.

In order to determine whether a dumpster or compacter will work best for you, it is important to understand the difference between the two.











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Contractors, homeowners, and business owners whom dispose of a wide range of trash often utilize dumpsters. Dumpsters are usually emptied by whoever your waste management provider is, on a weekly basis. Waste items such as demolition debris, household waste, contaminated dirt and recyclables such as concrete, wood, yard waste, tires, cardboard, scrap metal, e-waste, etc. can all be disposed of in a dumpster.

Dumpsters can be purchased in a variety of sizes depending on your waste management needs. The various sizes available allow businesses, homeowners, contractors, etc. to determine which size works best for them and their volume of waste.


In comparison, compactors are ideal for those of you who generate very large quantities of trash and recyclable materials. Customers in the grocery, retail, shopping center, or hotel/hospitality industries are usually able to get the most out of compacting dumpsters due to the large amount of waste generated daily.

Self-contained compactors look very similar to any other dumpster. The only difference is that they have a motor inside that is turned on when someone dumps waste. The trash is “pressed” when it enters the dumpster, consolidating the waste to make room for more. Ultimately, this means your dumpster unit will fill up less quickly, leaving room for more waste and reducing the number of necessary pickups by your waste management provider.







Image via Cali Carting

What to Consider When Deciding Between a Dumpster and a Compactor

With a basic understanding between a dumpster and a compacter, you can now weigh the options to determine which will work better to meet your unique needs.



How Much Trash Do You Generate?

If you currently have a regular dumpster, how is it working out for you? If you find that it is just about full when it is time to be picked up each week, then you can probably stick with a dumpster. Is your trash overflowing each week? Then maybe a compacter would work better for you, as all trash would be consolidated leaving more room for additional waste.

Rodent Issues

Another important note: Rodents. If you find that various rodents are constantly bombarding your waste, a compactor might be a better option. Compactors make it more difficult for rodents to get in, leaving less of a mess for you to clean up each week.


Depending on your waste management provider, costs will be different for a dumpster or compacter. If your waste provider charges per pickup, a dumpster is going to be more expensive. If your provider charges by weight, the compactor option might be more expensive. Because compactors reduce the size and volume of your waste, this usually means the haul will be much heavier, but require fewer pick-ups. Conventional dumpsters fill up much more quickly, but are going to weigh less.

Rent a Dumpster or Compactor in NJ from Cali Carting

Each customer’s waste management needs are going to be different based on their project or business. It is important to discuss your options with your waste management provider to determine which unit will work best for you.


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