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Automatic Recycling Waste Baler

What’s the difference Between a Recycling Baler and a Waste Compactor?

At Landfill Alternatives, we’ve been operating in the waste management industry for over 20 years. One of the most common questions we get from our customers is:

What is the difference between a Baler and a Compactor?

If you’re looking to buy or lease a Recycling Baler or Waste Compactor but aren’t sure which one is right for your business, then this article is for you. We will provide you with all the information required to pick the right machine for your requirements. Ensuring you can make the correct purchasing decision for your business.   

Recycling Baler

A Recycling Baler, also commonly known as a Waste Baler is a machine that can compact recyclable materials into solid blocks called bales. Typically there are two types of Baler; vertical and horizontal but we also supply semi-automatic, twin ram and specialist balers.

Horizontal BalerBalers allow you to compact multiple streams of dry waste such as paper, cardboard, plastic and more. Material is loaded into the chamber, and the compaction plate compacts and compresses the recyclables. This process is repeated until a full bale is created and then subsequently tied and ejected. Bales are easily stackable and transported, therefore they’re easy to collect and transport to recycling centers. As the bale consists solely of recycled material it typically has a value and at certain size bales and volume you can generate revenue. The compaction process minimises the amount of volume these materials require, keeping your workplace tidy. 

Baler Benefits


  • Bales are easily transported and stackable
  • Generate income from selling bales
  • Reduce disposal costs by diverting material away from skips and bins
  • Easy to use and operate
  • Frees up space in skips and bins 
Waste Compactors

Waste compactors are commonly used by organisations that have medium to large volumes of low-value mixed waste. Typically, Waste Compactors come in three models, static, portable and specialist. However, the underlying concept remains the same. They’re designed to compress waste to reduce the volume of space it requires. In turn, fewer waste collections are required, which leads to cost savings. In order to complete this task compactors deploy a powerful compaction ram that delivers up to 36 tonnes of force.

Portable compactor

Ensuring all of your waste is fully compacted enables your business to stop paying for fresh air and to reduce void space. Paying to collect half-full bins is a waste of money for your business and isn’t cost-efficient or good for the environment. 

Compactor Benefits


  • Achieve a 5:1 compaction ratio 
  • Reducing the number of collections required – saving money
  • Suitable for food and wet waste
  • Suitable for bulky waste
  • Can be fitted with bin lifts to minimise waste handling  
Key Considerations

In summary, both machines aim to minimise the amount of space waste takes up. However, they typically both process different materials. Balers are perfect for compacting dry waste recyclables such as cardboard, paper, and plastic. If your business produces a sufficient stream of these materials then a Baler could be a suitable option. If your business produces a high volume of mixed general waste then a Compactor may be required. 

Questions to Consider:


What type and volume of waste does your business dispose of?

If your business disposes of large amounts of dry recyclables such as paper or cardboard then a Baler will be the best option. This will allow you to compact and bale the material and dispose of it for free, or even generate revenue.

If on the other hand your business mostly produces low-value mixed waste then a Waste Compactor will be a great option. This will ensure any waste is fully compacted before being collected. Therefore, you’ll require fewer collections, in turn, saving your business money. 

How much space do you have available? 

Luckily we have a large range of Compactors and Balers in varying sizes. Our smallest compactor could fit in a 780mm x 780mm space. Our smallest baler only requires 670mm x 720mm of space. Therefore even the smallest of businesses could benefit. 

How much capital do you have available?

Depending on the model you choose the price could vary drastically. However, we offer a range of affordable leasing options and sell a selected range of refurbished machines. Get in touch to speak to us about our products or/and to arrange a FOC on site survey.

Could your business require both a Compactor and Baler?

Yes, absolutely. If your business produces medium to large volumes of mixed waste and dry recycling then having both machines can be the most efficient option. A Baler can process all of your cardboard and paper etc and the Compactor can ensure all non-recyclable waste is fully compacted.    

Free Audit

Choosing between a Baler and Compactor can be a tricky decision to make and in certain situations having both machines is the best option. With so many different factors to consider it helps to have a professional’s input. That’s why we offer a free, no-obligation on-site audit.  During this visit, we’ll analyse all of your waste streams and recommend a solution that will best satisfy your requirements. We have over 20 years’ experience in waste management so rest assured we’ll find the right fit for you.

Man filling out recycling audit

Product Finder

In addition to offering free on-site audits, we have also developed a quick and simple to use, online ‘Waste Configurator’ system. This tool gives you the power to find the perfect solution to satisfy your waste management requirements within minutes.

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