Keeping all campus users and staff safe is a Facilities Services and OWRR value. Please be mindful when using trash and recycling equipment, handling waste, and when volunteering with OWRR. Remember, 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.

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 a cmopactor 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. 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 sis to ensure that only users who are safety trained are able to operate the compactor. Tell your supervisor that they key is missing and they will be able to order a replacement.

For Supervisors: How can I order compactor keys for my staff?

Please see below for key ordering information.

For Supervisors

Order keys for your staff

By November 15, 2013, supervisors should request keys by completing an online work request, calling or emailing the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling (OWRR) at Recycling Request, 919-962-1442 or 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. Property: Compactor Location/Building
  5. Delivery method
    • Campus Box Number (keys will be mailed to you)
    • Pick-up (OWRR is located in the General Storeroom Bldg. near the gas pumps and HVAC shops.)

Keys may no longer be left in the compactor key switch. You may keep shared keys in another area that only trained employees can access or issue a key to each employee. Compactor keys left in the key switches will be removed by OWRR.


Download the Compactor Training Brochure for your staff. OWRR can also provide hard copy brochures with your key order. Please request them in your email. Please note that the brochures are only available in English.

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

Compactor Book Cover

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. Don’t risk it!
  3. Cleanliness of area—Ripping open bags to see what is inside creates a huge mess.  This creates more 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. More information.

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