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The Difference Between Balers and Compactors

Did you know that the United Kingdom has exceeded the European Union targets in waste recovery? Data shows that, through sorting, baling and judicious disposal of waste materials, the UK now has a 70% waste recovery rate.

The EU goal was 50% but in 2020, the industrial and individual efforts to contain materials going to the landfills surpassed expectations!

At ANIS Trend, we have been working with industries for over 25 years to provide the equipment for packaging and waste materials. While you focus on producing your high-quality products, we’ll take care of your waste.

We have the expertise to provide you with exactly the waste disposal and recycling solutions you’re looking for, tailor-made to meet your needs.

As you are researching waste solutions, you’re probably wondering whether you should buy or lease compactors or balers. Both are effective tools for reducing the volume of waste but they have key differences. Read on to discover these differences.

Do I Need Compactors or Balers For My Waste?

Both compactors and balers are used to reduce the volume of the waste material your industry produces. Both of these types of machines use hydraulics in the compaction process. In fact, in some countries, both are called ‘compactors’ no matter what type of waste they handle!

The key difference between the two types of machine is the material each one handles.


Baler for distribution centres.


As in any industry, the processing and the shipping of a product produce waste. You will have to examine whether you need a trash compactor or baler for your business in light of how much waste you produce and what type.

Both types of machine will compress your waste into free-standing units or cubes. These can be shifted and moved to either a recycling plant or a landfill.


A trash compactor will condense unsorted waste into a container. Many industries produce large amounts of non-recyclable materials. This can include food and wet waste or bulky materials or materials that are not recyclable.

Economic viability is also a consideration. There is a cost involved in sorting, compacting and storing waste. Some industries produce a large variety of different types of waste and need to choose the most cost-effective option. In the UK, there are specific guidelines for materials disposal and recycling.

Using a waste compactor can be a cost-efficient, environmentally friendly solution for managing waste storage and collecting.


A compaction machine will compress bulky materials into heavier loads in a large container or bin to reduce the frequency of collection. This container is securely covered to reduce unpleasant odours between collection. You don’t want vermin in your waste and a secure cover will definitely keep them out!

You will also need fewer containers because all your unsorted waste can be compressed to require less space. Most compactors can reduce the number of bins required by a 5:1 ratio. This leads to a reduced amount of storage required for waste and also saves money on the number of waste collection trips required.

When you are deciding if a compactor is what you need, you need to establish whether or not it is economically necessary and also if you will be saving space.

Landfill capacity in the UK is diminishing steadily. In 2017 it was determined that only 6.8 years of landfill capacity was still available. Compacting your non-recyclable waste is an environmentally responsible choice for any company that produces large volumes in order to run its business.


You should consider that a compactor does take up a certain amount of space. Will it require more space than the area of storage saved by compacting your unsorted waste?

A compactor does come with a certain expense. Will owning or leasing one save enough money on collection expense to be cost-effective?

Another consideration is that you can get compactors in different sizes and waste compaction bins in different sizes. Perhaps a smaller-sized one is more economically feasible for your needs.


A baler is specifically designed for handling dry waste. This dry waste has to be a material that has value for recycling purposes. These materials can include paper, cardboard, plastics, textiles, metal, and wood scraps.

A baler will compress these recyclable materials into compact bales which are then bound to keep them in shape. They were designed on the principle of hay baling which has existed for many years.

These compact bales can be stacked neatly to save space before being taken away to a recycling facility at regular intervals.

Some baling machines will actually sort materials into different categories using air classification. You can also get balers that will shred certain recyclables like paper. Many balers will have conveyor belts to move the materials into the compression bin for baling.


Picking station
Sorting lines


There are numerous benefits to using a baler. With a baler, you spend less time preparing your materials for recycling. For example, if you are recycling cardboard, you have to break down the boxes prior to recycling, but with a baler, there is no need to do that.

Using a baler saves on space required for storing your recycling between recycling collection trips. You also don’t need bins for storing your recycling. The baler will form the recycling into stackable compact bales needing up to ten times less space.

You can select the machine you want based on the size of bale you’re looking for. If you’re short on storage space for your bales, a shear press can make bales as small as 750 mm to as large as 1100 mm. This type of press has a shear blade to cut excess material from your bale.

If you are looking for a baler that can provide a high pressing force of over 200 tonnes, you might be looking at a press with double lateral pre-press flaps. An example of this type of compression requirement would be baling used automobile tires. Even plastic bins and bottles require a very high pressing force to compact them.

The options are only limited by your requirements!

Another benefit is that the bales can be easily collected and taken away and you can do a lot more recycling before a trip is made. This will save you money on waste disposal costs.

You can also earn money with your nice neat bales of sorted and stacked recyclables. Many recycling mills will pay you for certain types of high-value materials.

There are several types of baler you can look into.

  • vertical baler – this type can be used by a single individual and takes up the least amount of space
  • horizontal baler – these are usually semi-automatic and can be used in a stockroom, a retail operation might use one of these
  • fully automatic horizontal baler – this one can handle large volumes of waste materials

One further benefit you mustn’t forget is the environmental impact and public relations benefits of your efficient waste management strategies. What’s to stop you from advertising what a great job you’re doing ‘going green’?


When choosing a baler, you also need to look into economical considerations. A baler can be quite costly. You need to decide whether owning or leasing a baler is your best choice.

You also can look at the savings involved in using a baler. The most obvious savings is in the number of trips the waste management service needs to make to take away your bales. Do the saving in reducing the trips justify the cost of baling your recycling?

A baler takes up space. You need to look at the benefits of baling in comparison to the amount of space required for the baler. This also will involve a consideration of the size of the baler and the features you select. For example, with a conveyor belt, a baler will take up more space. Do you need a conveyor belt? Perhaps a chute or a hopper is a better, more space-saving choice?

Another consideration could be: does the time saved in having the baler do the compacting and recycling management for you justify the cost?

Baler or Compactor: What’s the Bottom Line?


Waste management is a growing industry in and of itself. With the increasing need to reduce waste going to a landfill due to space considerations, the restrictions on waste are growing. There are also more and more stringent requirements for reducing the production of CO2. You will need to take this into account when you are choosing how to dispose of waste.

Local planning authorities are responsible for working with Public Health England and the Environment Agency to ensure that waste is handled in a manner that does not have a negative impact on the environment or human health.

When you are planning your own waste management strategy, you will be working with these agencies to ensure you are following their guidelines. Having an efficient waste management strategy for your company will involve baling your recyclables or compacting your non-recyclables.

The good news is: you can do both! You can work with our experts at ANIS Trends to find the best solutions for you. We have balers here that will fit your needs! Fill out our questionnaire to get started today!