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What Is a Landfill Compactor?

Trash is transported to a landfill, where it may be compacted.
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  • Written By: Terry Masters
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 08 December 2014
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A landfill compactor is a type of machinery that is used to manage the refuse deposited in a landfill. Refuse management is particularly important for landfill areas. Land that can be used to store and process trash is finite, and the goal is always to effectively use the allocated space. This type of compactor is a truck that is part drum roller, part bulldozer. It is used to distribute, crush, knead and compact garbage that is spread on the ground of an outdoor area.

People generally produce more trash than can easily be managed by public service entities. One of the issues that governments grapple with is what to do with the trash that is generated on a daily basis. A traditional solution is to designate special land areas where garbage can be placed until it decomposes. Selecting a landfill area is often tricky. The property is typically unsightly, and garbage produces gas emissions and odor that can impact the quality of life of people living in the surrounding area.

Since the land available for trash storage is finite, landfill management is an important part of waste processing. A landfill compactor is a machine that is used at the landfill site to move the garbage around, flatten it and crush it into tightly packed shapes. This optimizes the landfill space, since the compacted garbage takes up less room than garbage that is unprocessed. Most landfills use some version of a landfill compactor to manage the area.

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The most common type of landfill compactor has a closed cab that sits on large drum rolls. The drum rolls flatten the garbage on the ground. Attached to the front of the machine is a dozer blade and bucket that can push the trash, lift it up and crush it within the truck's machinery. These types of compactors are available by capacity and can typically handle between 20 and 60 tons (about 18 to 54 metric tons). The blade is removable, so the landfill operator can select a size that is appropriate for the dimensions of the landfill.

Using a landfill compactor is an important part of waste management because of its ability to optimize limited storage space. Another important result of compacting the trash in landfills is that the compacted trash emits less odor and greenhouse gas. The compacting process also stabilizes the ground by flattening the garbage, making it easier to navigate the area for other purposes.

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