We get asked a lot how much weight a particular compactor can hold. To date there are no real official numbers because the weight of material varies so much as well as compaction ratios of equipment.  This dilemma is also compounded by the fact that waste with a high liquid content has a very poor compaction ratios since liquid cannot be compressed while material with a high quantity of air compacts into an incredibly small space.


When we draft a savings analysis for a customer the standard calculation is 4:1 as most compactors can compress waste into a space a quarter of is original size.  The standard way for calculating how much weight a compactor container can hold has been for a while now (container size X 580 / 2000= Total Weight in Tons). This calculation is based on the fact that most waste is compressed into a compactor container at a rate of between 500 and 600 pounds per cubic yard multiplied by the amount of cubic yards in a container and divided by the amount of pounds in a yard.


The “580” calculation however is of course closer to the high end of the scale and in this industry it is much better to under-promise and over-deliver versus over-promise and under-deliver so if you are looking for a more conservative estimate it may be better to set your calculations between the 500-550 pound per yard range so you aren’t disappointed after having received your new piece of equipment.