When you’re trying to choose the right waste container for your business, there are a lot of factors to consider. Do you need a front load dumpster or a tote? What about roll-off containers? And what about size?

Don’t get down in the dumps. We’re here to help you walk through the process of choosing the right waste and recycling container for your business.

The types of waste containers

Whether you’re a new business going through this process for the first time or you’re a veteran business reevaluating your waste and recycling needs, there are four factors to consider when choosing a new waste container:

  • The type of waste you will generate
  • The volume of waste
  • Whether you need a permanent or temporary solution
  • The space you have available for the container(s)

Your answers to the above will help guide your choice.

Front load dumpsters are great choices for small businesses that need a permanent waste container.

Roll-off and open top containers are more typical choices for industrial businesses or businesses that will temporarily generate a lot of waste. You’ll often see these near construction sites.

Totes and wheel-carts are smaller garbage bins that work well for small businesses that don’t generate a lot of waste or for urban businesses with limited space.

For more details on waste containers, check out our container options page.

How to choose the right size waste container

So now you have a better idea of the waste container options that could work for you–but then it’s time to consider size.

When evaluating the size of container options, don’t just think about how much waste and recycling your business can generate. Make sure to measure how much space you have available in your alley, garage, or other space you plan on putting it.

Front load dumpsters, roll-off containers, and open top waste containers are measured in cubic yards. A cubic yard is a measure of volume; one cubic yard is 3 feet long by 3 feet wide by 3 feet high.

Front load dumpsters can range from 2-yard options to 8-yard options. A 2-yard front load dumpster is right for a small business and can fit approximately 12 garbage bags. Meanwhile, an 8-yard front load dumpster is the right choice for larger restaurants and businesses and can hold approximately 56 garbage bags.

Roll-off and open top containers can range from 10-yard to 40-yard options. A 10-yard container is used for smaller temporary jobs while 40-yard containers are taller and work for businesses that need to throw waste off a dock.

Totes and wheel-carts are the smallest container option; they’re measured in gallons. A 64-gallon container can hold about 4 garbage bags while a 96-gallon container can hold about 6.

For more comprehensive details on size options, dimensions, and what different size containers can hold, explore this page.

Avoid these common mistakes

  • Be careful when choosing the size! If you choose a container that’s too small, your hauler may charge you extra fees for extra pickups or containers.
  • Don’t overfill roll-off or open top containers. Many haulers won’t pick up overstuffed containers and you can get charged with extra fees. Ensure that you keep waste level or below the top of the container.
  • If you have unexpected waste that doesn’t fit in your waste containers, err on the side of caution and contact your hauler. Large, heavy, or irregularly shaped items like broken appliances, mattresses, or old machinery often can’t just be left by your waste container. Your hauler may have a special process for these items.
  • Not all recycling is created equal. Don’t recycle just anything–be sure to study up on your city’s recycling regulations. Following these rules will ensure that your recycling actually gets properly recycled.

Still need advice? Never fear! If you’re still unsure what waste container type and size is right for your business, our expert Rubicon team is here to help. Contact us for more information.