6 Space Management Tips for Dumpsters and Garbage Cans

full trash dumpster

When it comes to waste management, space and size issues can be a massive headache. When someone has to remove a heavy trash load, or a larger item, even a few inches of dumpster space can mean the difference between a finished job and a logistical nightmare. For anyone having to contend with a large disposal job, space management is everything. Each time that dumpster is emptied is costly, so it makes sense to maximize space every time it’s filled.

For removal jobs where a lot of trash or materials are going to be disposed of, make use of every free foot or inch of space. There’s only so much you’re going to fit into that dumpster. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 6 space management tips for dumpsters and trash cans to help every reader with that next big job!

Sort Everything

If you recycle, this is already a part of your process. Separating recycling from trash is a great way to stay green while helping your environment, but that’s not the only benefit! Sorting through your refuse can help you to strategize how to distribute it when throwing it all away. Smaller and oddly-sized items should be moved to the top while larger and more cumbersome items are placed at the bottom.

Have you ever played a game of Tetris? This is where you can put those skills to use. Line some of the larger items up so you can plan how to place them in the dumpster or can. That way you know that one item is going to stick out like a capitalized “L” while another square-shaped piece of trash can be placed underneath it to maximize space.

Flatten and Cut

Not every piece of trash or waste is going to be a metal can or thick plastic cup. That means anything that can be flattened, cut, or smashed in any way should be! Those who recycle aluminum cans regularly already know the benefits of smashing the can on the ground before placing it in the bag. It allows for roughly four times the amount of cans to be placed in a bag or can. Unfortunately, the answers on can crushing are not so black and white, as crushing cans might cause issues in the recycling distribution system.

While the jury is out on whether or not cans should be crushed, flattening and crushing in general saves space and money. Putting an unflattened box into a dumpster is, undoubtedly, a waste of space. The only instance where that is acceptable is if the box is used as a container for other trash beforehand. So instead of wasting space with the unflattened box they instead have a temporary trash can they can throw away at the end of the job.

Weight Distribution and Compression!

This is an extension of sorting trash, but it’s a bit more involved than just separating cardboard from plastic. Weight distribution can help maximize any space, be it storage or disposal. Big or heavy items need to be at the bottom of the dumpster and they need to be thrown away first. Many companies will refuse to pick up dumpsters that are excessively overflowing, so large and heavy items need to take precedence over small and malleable ones. That’s where compression comes in!

Say you have to dispose of a large couch and then 5 large bags of house insulation. First of all, the couch is going to be the most difficult to contend with, so ensure that gets disposed of first. Then, it’s time to compress those bags! Most trash bags have pockets of air throughout them, inflating their size. Give each bag a simple squeeze to remove excess air and they’ll be much easier to throw away.

Check How You Stack Your Bags

Did you ever notice that trash cans are a rectangle and not an actual square? Garbage cans are actually vertical, and the same goes for our trash bags! When having to dispose of bagged trash, stack them together vertically to make the most out of every inch of space. Some items are going to change the size and contour of the bag, of course, but bagged trash typically matches the shape of its container. By stacking them together like french fries in a box, more space becomes available leading to more disposals and less frustration.

Bungee Cords and Rope

Loose trash isn’t just harder to dispose of, in some instances, it’s illegal to throw away. When a garbage truck picks up trash, it should be neatly packed together. Otherwise, when that dumpster or trash can is upended, all of that loose trash is going to go flying around the neighborhood. That’s one of the major reasons we use trash bags in the first place. Not only is it a good rule of thumb for cleanliness, but it can also help with space management.

Just like compression with the last tip, tying oddly shaped items together can keep them from taking up unnecessary amounts of space.

Identify & Maximize Empty Space

This last tip might be the most important. Just because you’ve done every other tip does not mean you should be hastily throwing your bags in the trash can. Compression can happen on its own and boxes can end up being smaller or larger than they initially appeared. When you’ve started putting your trash in the dumpster, you’ll quickly learn whether or not you have enough space to store it all. Don’t just blindly throw trash bags on top of each other, notice how they’re falling and compressing.

Is there empty space? Does it look like one bag can be pushed farther down? Is one large stick or branch keeping other materials from falling to the bottom of the container?

Ask these questions as the job continues. Unused space is wasted money, so make use of every dollar by maximizing every inch and corner of that dumpster or garbage can.

Pay Attention!

It’s on you to keep these tips in mind next time. Space management is a significant aspect of waste management, so don’t forget to look for empty space during every step of the process.

The most important tip, in general, is to pay attention while completing the job. Every one of these tips is made better when the situation is analyzed beforehand. Before you start flattening or even bagging, make a plan to determine where every piece of material or trash is going to go. Dumpster rentals can cost an arm and a leg, so don’t lose another leg by forgetting to check for empty space or to stack bags vertically.