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A compactor in Ohio.

A compactor (or trash compactor) is a mechanism used to reduce the size of waste material through compaction. Many supermarkets unfortunately use compactors for cycled produce and other waste. Often it is more difficult to collect food from compactors through dumpster diving practice.

Although many trash compactors function in such a way that the compaction pressure is very low unless the compactor is very full, it is never worth risking one's life. Pressure increases as the volume sensor is triggered, which a moving human body may do. The final compaction cycle can run at pressures in excess of 20,000 lbs. Always unplug the trash compactor before entering, or have a friend standing next to the emergency button.

Some trash compactors are left unlocked; others must be forcibly opened or disassembled. Be wary of highly compressed items, as some may explode violently when pressure is released. Lightly filled compactors, or compactors for which the next compression cycle has not yet run, will contain uncompressed, quality items.

  • Can someone please post some info about accessing food inside compactors that are kind of connected to the buildings? You can't see the place where the food goes in because that is inside the building. Seems there is nowhere to open them easily from the outside. Or maybe need special tools/tricks?? Any info is appreciated!

here it seems there is no way to do it, but i would love for someone to prove them wrong : an idea might be cutting the power cables to make the things unusable and maybe with time they would get normal bins..anyone tried?