With many haulers charging service fees or requiring you to get your dumpster or carts to the curb on pickup day, knowing how to do this safely is critical to managing your waste program. Yet, moving a full dumpster to the curb is no easy task. You never know what contents it may contain.. Trash may be loaded with food scraps, a mixed recycling bin could be filled with broken glass or your organics container could be simply light soiled paper.
If you, your staff, or tenants, are responsible for moving your dumpsters and carts to the curb or designated area on pickup day, we’ve written up 10 tips to help you.
#1: Get Ready
Warm up your body and stretch those muscles. Being properly stretched and warmed up prior to lifting, pulling, or pushing your dumpster or cart can improve balance, muscle coordination, reduce fatigue and greatly decrease the risk of injury.
#2: Get Fitted
Wear the right attire. Use proper gloves, shoes and eyewear. Good shoes—ideally steel toe, will provide good footing. The right gloves will give you grip when you are handing the containers. Eyewear can help you avoid any loose debris or dust that may fly around. If you are moving the container at night or a dark area, such as an alleyway, or garage, consider a headlamp and high visibility safety vest.
#3: Inspect the Bin
Before lifting, pushing or pulling your containers, move it slightly to gauge how heavy it might be. You cannot judge the weight of a cart or dumpster by looking at it. One container may be light, the next could be heavy, filled with material such as food waste. Ensure that the wheels are functioning and lids are shut.
#4: Survey the Area
Examine the trash room before pulling the dumpster or carts out. Make sure the walking surface is free of trip or slip hazards, sharp protruding objects and clear of pests. If the bin is inside a trash enclosure or trash room, be sure the trash enclosure/room doors or gates are secured and open to provide a clear and accessible path and will not swing open.
Have a clear and defined path with the shortest distance of travel and smoothest surface. Move slowly with a firm grip on the handles with knees bent, back straight and allow the legs to do most of the work. Avoid twisting your body. If two people are handling the dumpster, have one person direct the move. If you are moving your dumpster on a slope, have a minimum of two people with a third directing their movement.
#6: Zone Off
Drop a safety cone to create a barrier where the dumpster will be placed for collection. This will help keep the area clear of pedestrians, cars or bikes from encroaching into the area while you are moving your dumpster. Also, avoid any unnecessary stops while moving the dumpster.
Avoid traveling through or placing your dumpster in or near potholes, sewers, loose gravel or grass, which can cause the wheels to get stuck or sink. Be extra cautious if it has been raining or snowing, as the ground may be extra moist and slippery.
#8: Placement Area
After you’ve confirmed the location where your hauler will service your dumpster, carefully lean the back wheels against the curb. Use wheel chocks to properly secure the dumpster castors, which will prevent the bin from rolling or moving. Shut the lid and add a bin lock to prevent unauthorized dumping or scavenging. Avoid blocking any handicap parking, driveways, bike lanes or other special zones that can prevent the flow of traffic and create a hazard.
#9: Still Too Heavy
If the weight exceeds a safe level for you, consider reducing the bin size or check if your hauler can convert your steel dumpster to plastic. Plastic dumpsters are lighter and easier to maneuver. If the dumpsters are still too heavy, there are various types of handling equipment designed to help you safely move your dumpster, such as a waste tugger or electric pallet jacks, or hire a company that specializes in Push Pull and Scout Services who operate these various forms of specialized equipment.
#10: Still Not Enough Space
If you surveyed the area and do not have enough room to safely secure your dumpsters at the curb, consider converting your dumpsters to carts. If you have multiple dumpsters for various waste streams, go with carts for what you generate the least. You may be able to configure carts much easier at the curb. If you are stacking multiple dumpsters on pickup day, change service days for fewer containers curbside.
Transporting your dumpster or waste carts can be unpredictable. Many injuries can occur from handling a dumpster. Safety should always be your top priority. If anything appears unsafe, consult with your waste hauler or service providers as they can make specific recommendations and will have the equipment needed to safely get your bins curbside.
Pedrito Gella is Co-Founder of Trash Scouts. An Oakland, CA-based company specializing in Push Pull and Scout Services for commercial and multifamily properties, transporting dumpsters to the curb seven days a week. With more than 15 years of experience in the waste industry, Pedrito was most recently the Western Sales Director for Toter, a brand of Wastequip, and Major Account Executive at Waste Management. He can be reached at [email protected]. For more information, visit www.trashscouts.com/services.