Careers Business Ownership The Art of Choosing the Right Trash Can Share PINTEREST Email Print PhotoAlto / Ale Ventura / Getty Images Business Ownership Operations & Success Sustainable Businesses Supply Chain Management Operations & Technology Marketing Market Research Business Law & Taxes Business Insurance Business Finance Accounting Industries Becoming an Owner By Rick LeBlanc Rick LeBlanc Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Consultant and news editor in the supply chain pallet and packaging trade Simon Fraser University Rick LeBlanc wrote about sustainability and supply chain topics for The Balance Small Business. He has been covering the pallet and packaging industries for 25 years. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 01/09/20 When it comes to maintaining health, safety, and cleanliness in the home or workplace, choosing the best trash or garbage can is actually important. Supplying employees and customers with easily accessible trash cans will enable them to consistently place trash or material for recycling in the right container. Overflowing trash cans always look sloppy and make the overall environment of the workplaceor household unhealthy, unfavorable and unsafe. That’s why businesses and households alike not only need the right size of trash and garbage cans but also a sufficient number of such containers that are strategically positioned to minimize the travel time of people using them. Trash Can Selection Trash cans should be a long term investment. Choose ones made of sturdy, recyclable materials and user-friendly designs. Such containers will provide efficient waste management in the home or workplace. Here are some other important considerations in selecting the appropriate trash can for your application. Location, Volume, and Compatibility There are outdoor trash cans (even ones designed to be resistant to raccoons, bears and other pests) as well as kitchen trash cans and ones created to meet the needs of a variety of other office and plant applications. Trash volume and composition is an important consideration. The more trash you generate, it goes without saying that a larger trash can will be a good idea. Often, larger bins will have wheels to facilitate their ease of handling when they are full. Be sure, however, that the trash cans you choose meet the guidelines of your garbage hauler in terms of compatibility for manual or automated lifting. One thing common denominator is generally the material. Mostly, trash cans are made using durable and sturdy plastics, or galvanized steel. Keeping Odor and Debris Secure One of the basic jobs of trash cans is to prevent invasion by insects and to reduce odor. Where this is a concern, choose trash cans that have a covering system. Keeping a lid on light trash such as scrap paper or labels can also help it from blowing out of the bin due to the passing of vehicles or equipment that stirs up a little wind. Ease of Handling For easy handling, larger trash bins benefit from handles, dollies, wheels or rollers. Tops of trash cans are also important. Options include tops that stay up, removable tops, and vented options. Rectangular shapes can provide better storage efficiency for multiple trash bins than circular design. Special Trash Containers for Medical Waste Safety requirements are very important for medical facility waste, as well as locations such as workplace first aid rooms. Choose fit-for-purpose trash bins to hold sharps or medical waste products like sanitary napkins or bloodied dressings. Sharps containers are also important for warehouses or other facilities that use disposable blades. Recycling Bins and Trash Cans Are Different Everybody knows blue bins are recycling bins, so make sure you don’t buy blue bins to use as trash bins. It is common practice to place one trash can and a blue bin in the same location so that employees can put the recyclables into blue bins and trash into trash cans. Coordinating the placement of blue bins and trash cans can help your recycling program be successful. Trash Can Maintenance No matter how much trash your home or business generates, you will periodically need to clean the trash cans. Here are some helpful trash can maintenance tips: Place Bins out of Harm's Way One of the quickest ways to prematurely damage trash bins is to place them where they are at risk of being struck by a forklift in a warehouse or backed into by a vehicle. Take care to position trash cans where they will not be battered by mobile equipment. Even if containers are not damaged in a collision, scooping up spilled trash is still frustrating. Attention to Cleaning For easy cleaning, always place a batch of extra garbage bags at the bottom of trash cans. This will make cleaning the trash can easy and simple for you as no liquid will be left on the trash can when you take away the garbage. After emptying the trash cans, rinse out the trash cans with water outside with a garden hose, or indoor in a sink or bathtub. Different cleaning solutions, odor-absorbent powder, and fragrant bags can help remove traces of odor. After that, rinse out the trash can thoroughly and tip upside down to drip dry. And before putting new trash into the trash can, make sure you put another batch of extra garbage bags in the bottom. The cleaning of organics bins will require a frequent cleaning schedule. Emptying Schedule Be mindful of trash generation and when bins need to be emptied. Failure to give people the time to perform this process can result in recyclable material or trash going into the only empty bin or overflowing onto the floor. It might be a stretch to say that choosing the right trash can is an art, but proper selection and maintenance of trash cans none the less are important considerations for managing waste in your home or business.