Compactors or Balers: Choosing the Right Waste Equipment for Your Business

Choosing between various waste management systems is no easy task. If you and your company have made a decision to improve your company’s waste removal efficiency, you may have found yourself in one of the following situations:

  • You’re tasked with finding a more efficient recycling equipment option
  • The volume of your company’s waste has grown significantly
  • Your company is producing a new type of waste material
  • Your company has consolidated locations, and as a result, has new recycling and/or disposal needs

Whatever the case, you’re now faced with the question: Is a baler or compactor the right equipment to optimize your waste operations?

Before exploring if a baler or compactor is the right business move, it’s important to educate yourself on why you need new equipment. Deciding which option is going to be the right fit for your business is an important decision to make, because you want the equipment to save your business money in the long run.

If you’re researching both balers and compactors, start by asking yourself two basic questions: Can it reduce my costs? Can it help my business recycle more? You should also determine if getting a rebate from recycling is important, since rebates also lead to cost savings.

In order to answer those questions, you’ll need to consider the following:

Effective waste management practices can provide many benefits for companies. Read on to understand the difference between balers and compactors, as well as how to get help choosing the right equipment.


A baler is used to compress recyclable materials (cardboard, paper, plastics, metal, etc.) for resale to recycling companies.

Types of Balers

Balers come in a variety of sizes, which are designed to accommodate different operational requirements. Some popular balers recommended for businesses are:

  • Vertical balers: Can handle small to medium volumes of waste and can be operated by a single person.
  • Stockroom balers: An option for grocery stores, drug stores and retailers because they don’t take up much room.
  • Horizontal balers: A good fit for businesses that produce large volumes of waste, these are much larger than vertical balers.

Benefits of Balers

Balers can significantly reduce disposal costs for your business and provide a quick return on investment. They provide your business with the opportunity to benefit from tax savings, decreased waste collection fees and recycling rebates. They can be rented or purchased even on a small budget.

Balers also help save a lot of space, which would otherwise be taken up by waste and recycling bins. Finally, they can help your business become more efficient by increasing the volume of recycled material produced each year and reducing your environmental impact.


A compactor is used to compress large volumes of general waste into a container, which is then picked up by a waste collector and delivered to a landfill site.

Types of Compactors

Compactors come in a variety of forms and are designed for different functions. Popular options for compactors are:

  • Break Away compactors: Designed for heavy commercial, industrial and mini-transfer stations. They are engineered to handle above average quantities of waste, when a transfer station is not available.
  • Self-contained compactors: Best suited for malls, school systems, large restaurants, supermarkets, hospitals and hotels. They are known for being leak-proof and provide odor and insect control.
  • Vertical compactors: Eliminate all openings on the side of the container, where waste material could otherwise leak or spill. There are no lids to repair or replace, and a driver can detach and empty the container in less than 90 seconds.

Benefits of Compactors

Since compactors reduce the volume of waste, they require less frequent pickups, reduce the amount of space taken up by waste bins, and help bring down waste costs.

Compactors come in a variety of sizes and are able to compress approximately 3 cubic yards of trash into 1 cubic yard of compacted trash. Since they are either automatic, or require a single operator, compactors require little employee training.

Differences Between Balers and Compactors

Do I want to recycle my waste or not? That’s one of the first questions that should be asked when deciding between balers and compactors, which is not always easy. Balers will bundle your recyclable materials for resale to a recycling company. Alternatively, compactors are able to compact large volumes of loose trash into much smaller volumes, which in turn requires less frequent pickups. Choosing between the two can be challenging and confusing because it depends on your specific business needs.

Should I Choose a Baler or Compactor?

Before you contact a waste management company, you must educate yourself on the right option for your business. Before making the choice between a baler or compactor, the first step is to figure out what problem you’re trying to solve.

If you’re new to a company looking for better waste or recycling equipment, a good first step is to understand the business goals of the organization. Regardless of how long you’ve been with your company, consider any goals, processes or materials that may have changed, impacting your waste and recycling disposal requirements. Examples include: whether the volume of waste has increased, a new type of waste is being produced, or your business locations are being consolidated.

If improving the financial performance of your waste operation is important to your business, a waste invoice audit is also a vital step to help you save money.

After you’ve consulted internally with regards to your waste management equipment options, it’s time to work with an expert to ensure your decision is the right one.

Waste management companies can provide you with the insight, knowledge and waste equipment solutions to help your company save time and money, and help your company achieve measurable environmental benefits.

For more information, contact National Waste Associates at 888-692-5005 or email us at