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Getting your dumpster "Curbside"​

How do you get that big and heavy dumpster to the curb? With many haulers charging fees or requiring you to get your dumpster or carts to the curb on pickup day, knowing how to do this safely is important to a successful your waste program. Yet, moving a full dumpster to the curb, is no easy task. You never know what it can be filled with. Trash may be loaded with food scraps, a mixed recycling bin could be filled with broken glass or your organics container could simply be light soiled paper.

If you, your staff, or tenants, are responsible for moving your dumpsters and carts to the curb or designated area on pickup day, we’ve written up 10 tips to help you.

Get Ready. Warm up your body and stretch those muscles. Being properly stretched and warmed up prior to lifting, pulling, or pushing your dumpster or cart can improve balance, muscle coordination, reduce fatigue and greatly decrease the risk of injury.

Get Fitted. Wear the right attire. Use proper gloves, shoes, and eyewear. Good shoes – ideally steel toe, will provide good footing. The right gloves will give you grip when you are handing the containers. Eyewear can help you avoid any loose debris or dust that may fly around. If you’re moving the container at night or a dark area, such as an alleyway, or garage, consider a headlamp and high visibility safety vest.

Inspect the Bin. Before lifting, pushing, or pulling your containers, move it slightly to gauge how heavy it might be. You cannot judge the weight of a cart or dumpster by looking at it. One container may be light, the next could be heavy, filled with material such as food waste. Ensure the wheels are functioning and lids are shut.

Survey the Area. Examine the trash room before pulling the dumpster or carts out. Make sure the walking surface is free of trip or slip hazards, sharp protruding objects, and clear of pests. If the bin is inside a trash enclosure or room, be sure the trash enclosure/room doors or gates are secured open to provide a clear and accessible path and won't swing open.

Movement. Have a clear and defined path with the shortest distance of travel and smoothest surface. Move slowly with a firm grip on the handles with knees bent, back straight and allow the legs do most of the work. Avoid twisting your body. If two people are handling the

person pulling out a dumpster incorrectly

the dumpster, have one person direct the move. If you are moving your dumpster on a slope, have a minimum of two people with a 3rd directing their movement.

Zone Off. Drop a safety cone to create a barrier where the dumpster will be placed for collection. This will help keep the area clear of pedestrians, cars, or bikes from encroaching into the area while you are moving your dumpster and avoid any unnecessary stops while moving the dumpster.

Grounds. Avoid traveling through or placing your dumpster in or near potholes, sewers, loose gravel, or grass, which can cause the wheels to get stuck or sink. Be extra cautions if has been raining or snowing, as the ground may be extra moist and slippery.

Placement Area. After you confirmed the location where your hauler will service your dumpster, carefully lean the back wheels against the curb. Utilize wheel chocks to properly secure the dumpster castors, which will prevent the bin from rolling or moving. Shut the lid and add a bin lock to prevent unauthorized dumping or scavenging. Avoid blocking any handicap parking, driveways, bike lanes or other special zones that can prevent the flow of traffic and create a hazard.

Still Too Heavy. If the weight exceeds a safe level for you, consider reducing the bin size or check if your waste hauler can convert your steel dumpster to plastic.

Plastic dumpsters are lighter and easier to maneuver. If the dumpsters are still too heavy, there are various types of handling equipment to help you safely move your

dumpster, such as a waste tugger, electric pallet jacks or hire a company that specializes in Push Pull and Scout Services who operate these various forms of specialized equipment.

Still not enough Space. If you surveyed the area and do not have enough room to safely secure your dumpsters at the curb, consider converting your dumpsters to carts. If you have multiple dumpsters for various waste streams, go with carts for what you generate the least. You may be able to configure carts much easier at the curb. If you’re stacking multiple dumpsters on pickup day, consider changing service days for fewer containers at the curb.

Transporting your dumpster or waste carts can be unpredictable. Many injuries can occur from handling a dumpster. Safety should always be your top priority. If anything appears unsafe, consult with your waste hauler or service providers like the Trash Scouts, who specializes in Push Pull and Scout Services as they can make specific recommendations and will have the equipment needed to safely get your bins - curbside.

About the Author

Pedrito Gella is Co-Founder of Trash Scouts. A Northern California (Oakland, CA) company specializing in Push Pull and Scout Services for commercial and multifamily properties, transporting dumpsters to the curb, 7 days a week throughout the Bay Area. With over 15 years of experience in the Waste Industry, Pedrito was most recently the Western Sales Director for for Toter, a brand of Wastequip, and Major Account Executive at Waste Management. He can be reached at For more information on getting your dumpster to the curb safely, visit

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