Waste Industry Problems

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Every company is finding it hard to maintain let alone improve their bottom line. Increased governmental regulation and intervention have affected us all in one way or another. The most significant legislation ever passed the effects the waste hauling industry started taking effect in October of 1993. This legislation, referred to as Sub-Title D, has already impacted the cost of disposal in this country. It has been estimated that as much as one third of the countries available landfills will close down in the near future in order to escape the effect of Sub-Title D. In addition, the remaining landfills will be required to use plastic liners, leachate collection systems, methane monitoring wells and will subject to extended post-closure liability periods. It has been estimated that these additional requirements will increase landfill costs by as much as 500%. Since the landfill operators cannot absorb these costs, the burden of paying for these items will fall on the waste generators in the form of higher landfill fees. With the decrease in the number of available sites to dispose of waste, the resulting increased travel distance to the landfill from a customer’s location will increase the hauling charges as well. The combined effect of all this will mean price increases to the waste generators. Waste removal cost will become a strong consideration of any businesses cost of operation.

 The waste hauler is acutely aware that over 80% of all compactors dumped today are less than full. However, he finds himself in somewhat of a dilemma. His revenues and therefore his profits are based on the frequency of hauls. If he alerts the customer to the fact that their loads are less than full, he reduces his own revenue. Recycling, ruse and other efforts, on the part of customers, have further compounded the hauler’s problems in his efforts to maintain the bottom line.

Only when forced will the hauler suggestions such as recycling, pressure gauges, peepholes in the receiving container or other measures to assist the customer in reducing their hauling costs. Even then, the hauler knows these measures are not the final answer to total compaction. Instead, they are a deception that gives the customer a false sense of security about fullness. ( The waste hauler has tested and evaluated our monitoring systems and for obvious reasons does not like what we do. Expect resistance!)

Many times you may find attachments to the compactor installation that will affect the operation of the unit. Items like extruders, shredders or grinders, pre-crushers, etc. are used to enhance the compatibility of the material. It would be impossible to describe all the possible combinations of this type so we recommend that if you see something that doesn’t look familiar to you just call our office, and we can help you identify the equipment and its potential effect on your service.

The trash compactor by its design can fool the user into thinking it is more full than it really is. Trash is placed into the hopper by the user. The ram face pushes the trash into the container along the container floor until it reaches a beveled plate at the back base of the container. The beveled plate then assists the trash to roll up and over the top of the remaining trash on the floor of the container. As more trash is added to the hopper and pushed into the container, the process continues until the trash contacts the compression plate at the front of the container above the hopper. When the total air space in the container is void and full of trash, true compaction begins.  The compaction process continues until the trash is compacted generally between three to eight times the loose volume capacity depending on the type of material put into the compactor and the compactors capability and PSI setting.

Sounds simple so where is the problem? The problem lies with the natural resistance to force, the process in which the container is filled and the thought process of the person operating the compactor. Since the user cannot see inside the container, he is influenced by the sights and sounds of the compaction process. The trash may resist rolling up and over as it contacts the beveled plate and bridging condition can occur inside the container during compaction. Bridging refers to the buckling of trash in the center or front of the container. Most often a breaking point is created at some point between the hopper opening and the beveled plate. As a result, the trash becomes lodged, and it takes increased force to break it loose. Also, as trash is compacted between the ram face and the beveled plate during a compaction cycle, a coiling effect is created. When the pressure is released, the trash springs back into the hopper. The hydraulic pressure during these regular occurrences is temporarily increased, the ram face slows down, and the motor sounds strained. Since the user is concerned about overflows and the problems they create, his determination of when to order a dump is affected by the outside influences that can be seen or heard. Not knowing for sure how full the container might be and realizing the hauler must be contacted well in advance of the response time for a dump, the user will apply the logic of, better safe than sorry, and empties the container prematurely.

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