Securing On-street Commercial Trash for Safer, Cleaner Sidewalks
Commercial trash, while containing many waste materials found in regular household trash, can have a higher impact on the environment and local surroundings due to the increased volume produced on a daily basis. Another influential factor is the possibility that some businesses might throw all trash, food waste, and potentially hazardous items into one single waste stream for the sake of convenience. Once left on the sidewalk for collection, the daily challenges of operating in a commercial environment take over. Without a secure system in place for the correct and safe disposal of commercial trash awaiting collection, this can cause a whole host of issues.
Changing these habits comes down to an awareness of the distinct challenges involved with commercial trash, and by making it easy for individuals to engage with user-friendly, sustainable solutions that encourage good practice. By securing on-street commercial trash to encourage safer, cleaner sidewalks, well-designed enclosure systems can help deliver reduced waste costs and street cleaning expenses, as well as facilitating an efficient collection process for haulers.
What Are the Challenges?
Security – Unsecured carts and dumpsters on the sidewalk with open lids and overspilling trash is not only unsightly, but can lead to public health issues and wind-blown litter. This can also enable opportunities for individuals to access the trash and cause potential vandalism, or move the dumpster to a difficult to access location for collection teams. Exposure to inclement weather can also quickly create operational challenges.
Space – Businesses in more densely built and populated neighborhoods are less likely to have enough off-street space to store all the trash and recyclables they produce between collections. On-street space in the areas outside their premises are usually narrow and will be typically occupied by demands for car parking and unloading space, as well as potential fire hydrants, bus stops, and bike lanes.
Dumping – If the dumpster for commercial trash is in a difficult to access location where businesses have to unlock doors or navigate past bags of trash to lift dirty bin lids, it won’t encourage correct practice. On the sidewalk, a messy dumpster area tends to encourage individuals to add to it, attracting illegal dumping, and eventually accumulation of piles of curbside trash ahead of collection, which can take place outside of normal business hours.
Misuse – On-street trash carts and dumpsters that are unsecured and able to be easily accessed by pedestrians, can quickly encourage unauthorized usage, increasing the risk of contact with potential hazardous trash, and potentially an increase in fire risk.
Vermin – Unkempt carts and dumpsters, or mounds of unsightly trash bags on sidewalks awaiting collection, can quickly lead to issues like split bags leaking onto the street, producing foul odours that can attract vermin to a ready food source. A significant volume of easy to access trash is the leading reason for a high vermin presence in urban areas.
How Can These Be Resolved?
Secure enclosure for all containers – Good enclosure system design minimises user-contact, with containers enclosed in the open position that can be loaded from the sidewalk but serviced from the streetside. This ensures the dumpster is secured, and able to be installed on the front of the sidewalk or within parking bays. Dual, damper-assisted loading hatches help to protect the dumpster contents.
Effectively utilize available space – By obstructing the sidewalk, increasing fire risk, and doing little to improve the visual quality of the environment, providing numerous roll-out carts would only create new issues. By utilizing available space, enclosure systems reduce obstruction and the visibility of trash on the sidewalk, as well as enabling reliable access for collection vehicles.
Eliminate free dumping space – If containers for businesses cannot be stored off the street and sidewalk, they need to be secured within an enclosure system to reduce illegal dumping. Convenience makes it easier for businesses to do the right thing, so these must be situated within easy but appropriate reach of all points of generation, with an easy load design including ADA-compliant options.
Key/app-controlled access – Controlling user access via key or app-operated systems effectively removes opportunities for misuse by restricting access for loading and servicing to the trash generator and collection teams only. Eliminating pedestrian access within dumpster enclosures reduces the opportunity for bulk deposits as well.
Rodent resistant enclosures – While many cities are introducing by-laws prohibiting the storage of bagged trash on the street or sidewalk, providing secure enclosure design enables trash to be deposited directly into the open container through easy-to-use loading apertures, ensuring no waste is left around the containers on the floor for rodents to access. Ensuring a reduction in accessible trash is the single most effective intervention to curb rodent populations.