8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Trash Can

Published on 03/08/17

While nearly all municipalities or waste haulers provide trash carts and cans, most let residents and businesses use more as needed.

“It can be tempting to select an additional trash can based on cost, but looking at other factors can make your life easier,” says Andy Bardsley, Vice President of Retail and Pro Sales at Toter, a leading manufacturer of trash cans and carts.

Bardsley advises consumers to take the following factors into consideration:

• Animal-Proofing: While this is a major consideration in high bear population areas, it’s extremely common for small animals like opossums, raccoons and rats to get into trash, leaving a mess and hazard in their wake. Choosing a certified animal-proof cart with a locking lid can eliminate this problem. Many products claim to be animal-proof, so look for a rating by an outside group, such as the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC), which performs exhaustive testing to determine which products are strong enough to withstand repeated clawing, toppling and chewing.

• Odor control: Carts stored indoors or in areas prone to heat can pose an odor problem. Select brands offering accessories like cart liners or odor eliminators to keep your cart clean and aid in deterring animals.

• Design: Hoisting heavy carts can pose an injury risk, so look for lighter containers with a higher strength-to-weight ratio to ensure safety and ease. Wheels are critical, but be sure to “test-drive” the cart first to see how it maneuvers. This will tell you how much force is needed to tip roll the cart, and how stable it is when loaded.

• Durability: Waste haulers and consumers alike are tough on cans and carts, so choose one designed for industrial use. Plastic cans are lighter and more portable than metal ones, but avoid lightweight plastics that wear quickly. Drilled areas create weak spots, so look for solid-molded plastic carts that are reinforced in key areas, such as along the rim, handles and bottom. Remember, a well-made cart from can last 10 to 15 years under normal use, and will likely come with a warranty.

• Local Regulations: It’s becoming increasingly common for municipalities or haulers to regulate cart size and weight, so check for any suggestions or restrictions first. The number to call for this information is usually stamped on the can provided.

• Capacity: While 96-gallons is generally the hauler standard, carts are available in 32-, 48-, 64- and 96-gallon capacities. Seniors and individuals with physical impairments often prefer to use a 48-gallon “half cart” to keep weight to a minimum.

• Sustainability: If you’re concerned about your carbon footprint, select products made with a higher percentage of recycled plastic, which are easily recyclable when they reach the end of their service life. A higher-quality can will last longer and prevent being landfilled.

• Alternative Uses: Trash cans and carts can be used for more than refuse collection. Popular alternative uses include storing sports equipment, organizing lawn tools and providing a pest-proof container for dog food, bird seed, rock salt or mulch.

For more information on choosing the right can for your needs, visit toter.com/consumers.

Dealing with trash is never fun, but making informed choices can help make the chore hassle-free.

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