So after reading today's comic and the question about garbage smashers, I felt the need to start this conversation. Mainly because the alternative is real work, which I'm morally opposed to doing.
I think the real question here is: why would you eject your garbage? Remember that you're in space and anything you need to make or to use has to be done with the raw materials on hand. You can't just pull over and find ready made iron if you need a new control switch for your tractor beam. So by storing your garbage you're able to break it down and recycle it for use on other projects.
Now, I know, there's a huge energy problem with breaking things down and putting them back together, but I'm choosing to suspend reality on that one (or assume that they have a large enough power supply that the concern is rendered moot). But I guess my point is, from a functional perspective, to constantly dump material into the void of space is very likely going to cripple you as you use up resources. And so, why not compact it until you're ready to reuse the materials?
I've put way to much thought into this.