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Keeping all campus users and staff safe is a Facilities Services and Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling (OWRR) value. Please be mindful when using trash and recycling equipment, handling waste, and when volunteering with OWRR. 

If you need help removing items from a dumpster or compactor, do not reach in yourself. Call OWRR at 919-962-1442 for assistance.

Watch the Compactor Safety Video

You may watch the Compactor Safety Video on Environment, Health, and Safety’s website as a self-study training. Please note that you must complete the post-test after watching the video.

The video is available in English, Spanish, and Karen. Please choose the best option for you and your staff.

Only individuals who have taken the compactor training and passed the post-test are allowed to use a compactor key to run a compactor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is required to complete the Compactor Safety Training?
Anyone who regularly uses compactors must watch the safety video and complete the post-test through Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS).
When do I need to complete the training?
Please complete the training as soon as possible, as it is required in order to be issued and to use a compactor key.
I’ve been using compactors for a long time. Do I need to take the training?
Yes. Even if you are familiar with compactors, EHS requires that all users complete the training.
Our compactor key is missing from the key switch. How can we get a new one?
Compactor keys will no longer stay in the key switch. OWRR employees will remove shared keys left in the switch. This is to ensure that only users who are safety trained and issued a key are able to operate the compactor. Supervisors can ensure that you are trained and may issue and order you a key if you have misplaced your previously issued key. Key replacements are $3.00.

For Supervisors

Order keys for your staff

OWRR has worked with the Access Control Shop (key shop) to have keys made upon request. Supervisors can obtain keys that can be checked out or assigned to specific employees. A supervisor can submit a work request to OWRR to obtain keys.

OWRR needs the following information to fulfill a compactor key work request:

  1. Type of request: Compactor Key Request
  2. Contact info: Supervisor name, phone number and email
  3. Details:
    • Department, work unit and zone (if applicable)
    • Names of trained employees
    • Number of keys requested
  4. Keys are $3 per key and will be charged to the requesting department. Entering a chart field string number into the compactor key work order request is required.
  5. Property: Compactor Location/Building

Keys will be available for pick up at the Access Control Shop (key shop) located at 975 Facilities Drive, on the end of the Shops Building.

No keys should be left in a compactor switch. If they are found this way, they will be removed and confiscated, resulting in the repurchasing of keys, at the replacement cost of $3 per key. Shared keys may be kept in another area that only trained employees can access, or each employee must be issued their own key. Compactor keys left in the key switches will be removed by OWRR.


The compactor safety training brochure is available for your staff. OWRR can also provide hard copy brochures with your key order. Please note that the brochures are only available in English.

Compactor Safety Book

The Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling has put together a Compactor Safety Book.

Though it may be tempting, remember that individuals are not permitted to enter dumpsters and/or remove items for the following reasons:

  1. Misuse of university resources or use of university resources for personal gain—Once an item is in the dumpster, it is considered State property, and removal of the item for personal use can be considered theft. Also, using work time or resources for personal gain is not permitted and can be grounds for dismissal.
  2. Safety—Getting in containers, opening trash bags, etc. can expose one to many different hazards. Most often, you will not be able to tell what hazards are in the trash container just by looking at bagged trash.
  3. Cleanliness of area—Ripping open bags to see what is inside creates a huge mess. This creates work and is extremely frustrating for those who have to clean up the area.
If an item needs to be removed from a dumpster or compactor, please call 919-962-1442. OWRR staff is trained to remove items safely, using proper equipment and protocol.

This is particularly important during student move-out in May. Only OWRR, Housing and approved non-profit organizations may remove items from dumpsters or donation stations.

If you are considering performing a Waste Audit, please contact us at 919-962-1442 or by email.