All waste receptacles are designed to collect trash, but that is where the commonality ends. Buyers have their own usage requirements for the waste receptacle which they will purchase. This article will help the buyer to understand the many attributes that should be considered when purchasing something other than the simple trash can.
Size (capacity): Bigger is not always better. Indoor usages trend toward smaller sizes than outdoor usages. Weight of the trash may also be used to determine the size. The size decision is often left up to the person removing the trash. The frequency at which the trash will be removed also plays a role in this decision. The very large waste receptacles, sometimes called dumpsters, are handled by machines. Finally, the location at the facility where the waste receptacle is to be placed must be considered.
Appearance (aesthetics - color, style, shape, feel, etc.): This attribute has always been important for the indoor usages but has also become very important for the outdoor usages as larger budgets become available.
Color - Many facilities like restaurants use different colors in different areas of their building. Blue is the most popular color to denote recycling, but all colors are acceptable when the receptacles are properly labeled. Natural material colors (chrome, brass, stainless steel, wood, etc.) are very common in addition to painted and molded-in colors.
Style and shape - Offices require a style that matches the furniture to look coordinated, while workshops generally do not mandate any particular style. Lid configuration is often used to achieve a particular look (dome, flat, etc.). Caution: This attribute can conflict with the basic function of collecting trash.
Feel - While feel is not a major consideration for most usages, the waste receptacle purchased should feel solid and not cheaply constructed.
Functionality (opening location, lid type, step-on operation, mobile, special needs, etc.): Most buyers recognize that functionality must be acceptable to the user and that ease of use is paramount to guarantee usage. The following parameters define ease of use.
Opening Location - Side openings have the advantage of providing a space on top for an ash urn or food trays. However, this can become a disadvantage when excess trash begins to collect on the top. Top openings are by far the most common.
Lid type - No lid would be the preference for the person removing the trash, but this can cause appearance and odor issues. Lids can be attached or separate. Outdoor lids are often attached by a cable to prevent theft and/or vandalism.
Step-on - Hands free waste receptacles are very popular for hospitals and doctor offices as an infection control measure. Fully automated lids should be avoided as they rarely last very long and can become a bad joke.
Mobile - Always look for a load rating on mobile waste receptacles since the wheels size and strength will determine this rating.
Special needs - Recycling containers are the most prominent of the special needs category. As the recycling industry matures, the need for more than one recycling receptacle at a location has become rare. The buyer should check with his recycling service company for guidance. Special needs can also mean ADA (American Disability Act) or UL (United Laboratories) approved. Smoking urn tops are becoming less popular. Fire resistance should always be considered if fire codes exist in the area.
Durability (usage life): Metal used to be the material of choice for durability. However, this is changing in the United States. Various forms of plastics now seem to be favored because of lower cost and styling flexibility. Plastic waste receptacles also do a better job containing liquids that may leak out of the trash. While plastic does not dent or rust, it can crack at low temperatures and will often wear out at the bottom due to abrasion. Outside of the United States metal waste receptacles are still in high demand. Pre-Galvanized steel has addressed the rust and cost issue to some extent. The best approach for durability is to look for a good manufacturer's warranty and durability statement.
Extra Features (options): Logos, leveling feet, anchors to prevent theft, hard plastic liners, etc. are among the most typical optional features available. Many manufacturers have made these options standard or free of charge, if requested.