How to troubleshoot an industrial compactor

Before you call for service, there are a few simple steps you can take to troubleshoot an industrial compactor. Nothing stops work faster than a compactor that isn’t working. But the team doesn’t need to sit around waiting for a service crew, especially if there’s an easy fix. If your compactor won’t start, run through these steps to get it back on track.

Check the electrical disconnect. This may sound too basic to bother with, but it may have been switched off. Make sure it’s in the On position.

Check the emergency button. It may have been engaged by a team member and no one mentioned it. Make sure it’s not engaged.

Check all the hoses if you have a self-contained compactor or a cart dumper. Make sure there are no disconnections. You may need to reconnect or tighten them.  

Check all the doors. The compactor won’t work if a door isn’t fully closed. You may need to open and close them to make sure they’re fully closed and sealed. Also check the interlock switches to make sure they’re engaged.

Check the Drivers Green Light. Was your vertical compactor recently serviced? Make sure the Drivers Green Light is lit. If it isn’t, that means the container isn’t properly seated. When the container is correctly in place, the light will turn on.

Reset the power. Did you have a power outage since the last time you used the compactor? Turn off the electrical disconnect box for about 20 seconds, then turn it back on. This resets the compactor’s internal computer.

Take a minute to troubleshoot an industrial compactor using these steps, and you should get your compactor back up and running. If you’re still having trouble, give your account manager a call. We’re here to help you solve problems as quickly as possible to keep your business running smoothly.

5 Benefits of Storage Containers

When a storm threatens a jobsite, or you’re concerned about potential theft, what’s the safest way to protect your tools and materials? Some contractors think they can save a few dollars and build a temporary structure for storing items overnight. If you’ve installed security cameras and there’s fencing around the site, why bother renting a storage container? That kind of thinking could cost you thousands with one break-in or damaging hailstorm. Rent one or more Storage containers to organize and protect your site.

Benefits of storage containers

Most storage containers are converted cargo containers. Because they’re built to withstand the rigors of sea and train travel, they’re extremely durable and able to withstand wet conditions. There are some considerations when deciding where to install storage containers on a jobsite, but they’re an easy way to organize and protect materials.

Water resistant

Storage containers are designed to safely carry goods on ships and trains, so they’re built to withstand splashing water and storms. It’s advisable to install storage containers on a dry, level surface, perhaps even on a riser if the jobsite is prone to flooding, but they can withstand snow, sleet and hailstorms.

Wind protection

Worried about storm damage to materials or potential water leakage? Storage containers can provide protection. They aren’t airtight, but they can protect construction materials and tools from high winds and rain. Makeshift sheds and storage bins can blow over or fall apart when a storm comes through. But containers are strong enough to withstand rough weather.

Control pests 

Construction sites can be a hotspot for rodents and insects, including mice, spiders and wasps. Wildlife experts say rodent control starts on the construction site. When construction starts, the piles of tools, machinery and building materials provide a place for rodents to hide – especially if the project is large and ongoing. Storage containers can help prevent infestations on site.

Customized solutions

Storage containers can be customized to meet the demands of your worksite. Standard 20- or 40-foot containers are useful for general storage, and they create a central location for tools and materials. They can also be outfitted with shelving and lighting to keep materials organized and accessible, even before dawn or at night. Windows and doors can be added, and they can be climate controlled or plumbed to provide office space or worker break rooms. Ask your provider about custom solutions available in your area.  

Security

Cameras have become standard on jobsites, but a security camera and temporary fencing aren’t enough to stop intrepid thieves. Particularly on jobs where copper wiring and other high-value materials are used. Construction theft costs the industry hundreds of millions per year. Thieves can’t steal what they can’t see, and a locked security container provides extra protection. An internal security camera adds additional protection for high-theft items.  

Storage containers are essential on construction jobsites. Whether you just need space to store tools or you’re looking for a climate-controlled office, we can help you find the right storage solution for your site.    

Top 5 blog posts of 2020

As we leave 2020 behind, let’s take a look at the top blog posts of the year. From planning outdoor weddings to implementing the latest dumpster camera technology, here are the articles people visited most this year.

How many toilets does it take?   

The most-visited blog post in 2020 was our run-down on OSHA Rules for Construction Portable Toilets. It may or may not have been related to an increased need for handwashing stations this year, but we definitely saw more portable toilet and handwashing station rentals in 2020. Back in the spring, there was a waiting list for handwashing stations, which led to some creative trailer conversions. There are plenty in stock now, so give us a call if you need additional portable toilets and handwashing stations in 2021.

Keep an eye on your waste costs. 

Next up was our post: New dumpster camera technology for better waste management. Our commercial waste team implemented Compology camera tech in our dumpsters this year, which led to more efficient service schedules. To learn more about how our camera tech helped customers right-size their waste during COVID-19, check out Dan Studer’s article in FMJ magazine.

Create a memorable outdoor wedding.

For the second year running, our article on planning an outdoor wedding was in the top five. With many people converting their indoor wedding to an outdoor one this year, it’s no surprise our article on portable toilets for outdoor weddings continues to get a lot of page views. We also featured outdoor wedding planning in a recent Ask Angela post.

How do you clean up after a storm or disaster?

This year had no shortage of fires, hurricanes, and events that required massive clean-up efforts. The most-viewed blog post from our resident waste expert was Ask Angela: How to clean up after a storm, fire or disaster. Many people don’t know where or how to dispose of storm or fire debris, and sometimes local rules can be confusing. We helped a lot of people coordinate cleanup efforts nationwide in 2020. This post features Angela’s top advice for anyone facing a reconstruction project.

Don’t get stuck with hidden fees.

Rounding out the top five is Top 10 dumpster hidden rental fees. One of our core missions is to provide fair, transparent pricing to our customers. This is because we know hidden rental fees can eat into a project’s budget and create unwanted surprises when an invoice arrives. In this post, we uncover the most common hidden fees and how to avoid them. When you’re ready to bundle your site services into one package with transparent pricing, give us a call. We’ve been helping people streamline their service rentals for more than ten years.

A 2020 Fireside Chat

2020 was remarkable, not only for the obvious reasons, but also from a business standpoint. We surpassed 100 employees, our new headquarters opened (although we’re still waiting to bring everyone back), and we adapted to meet the challenges and changes we all faced. To close out the year, join Chad, our president of marketing development, for a little much-needed humor in this 2020 fireside chat.  

ZTERS Appoints Shelby Lowe to Run Houston Expansion

Lowe will oversee expansion of local worksite service rentals.

HOUSTON, November 30, 2020 – Longtime waste industry veteran Shelby Lowe has been tapped to helm a locally focused expansion of ZTERS. As President, Lowe will manage site service rentals in the Greater Houston area. He brings decades of Fortune 500 executive experience to the role.

“Shelby has a long track record of success in this industry, and we’re grateful to have his experience and leadership as the company grows,” said ZTERS CEO Jon Farley.

Lowe launched and owned a highly successful solid waste residential and commercial collection company that was purchased by Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI), a Fortune 500 company.

Lowe has held executive leadership roles with Fortune 500 companies Allied Waste Industries and BFI, and a nationally recognized bio-solids company. He went on to serve as a Regional Vice President for Allied Waste where he managed annual revenues of more than $950 million

In these roles, has managed the growth of multimillion-dollar divisions and has been instrumental in building successful sales teams. Lowe has also been involved in major acquisitions deals within the industry.

“Taking companies to the next-level in terms of capacity and service is something I’ve enjoyed throughout my career,” Lowe said. “It’s great to work with a local company like ZTERS that cares so much for their employees and customers and to help them reach their potential.”

With his extensive executive leadership experience in the waste management field, Lowe will spearhead the company’s growth in one of the largest waste markets in the United States. He has spent much of his career in the southeast and is a graduate of Louisiana State University.

ZTERS has invested in a fleet of roll-off dumpster delivery trucks, temporary fencing, storage containers, and other jobsite service rental products. Lowe’s appointment launches a new phase of growth, where the company’s top-tier service will continue to be the cornerstone of market development.

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About ZTERS
Since 2009, ZTERS has provided top-rated waste solutions, including dumpsters, portable toilets, temporary fencing, storage containers, and portable offices to construction sites and commercial facilities. Family-owned and founded by a longtime waste industry professional, the company has a customer-first approach. Every project has a dedicated account manager who provides an upfront quote with no hidden fees. Learn more at www.zters.com.

What can’t be thrown in a dumpster?

Are there things you can’t put in a dumpster? Actually, yes. And there are things you might not think of. Dumpsters are essential for construction and renovation projects, but not everything can be thrown in a dumpster. If you think you’re going to slide by and dump everything in your roll-off rental, you might be in for a surprise. Throwing away items that don’t belong in a landfill could result in a delayed dumpster pickup, and more than likely some additional fees. The best way to avoid problems is to know exactly what materials can – and can’t – be thrown in a dumpster before you start using it.

What materials aren’t allowed in dumpsters?

Rules vary from one municipality to the next, so if you know you may have some questionable items on your worksite, check with your roll-off rental company before you rent the dumpster. You’ll have to arrange for special waste removal if you have things like medical waste or certain building materials, such as wood or debris that may have been contaminated with lead or asbestos. There are some other materials you may not have considered, though. Here’s a list of commonly prohibited materials. 

Hazardous Materials

Chemicals, cleaning products, corrosive materials and batteries are all examples of hazardous materials that dumpster rental companies won’t allow to be placed in roll-offs. Add to that list any paints, herbicides, pesticides, liquid waste, freon, fuel tanks, and neon light ballasts. Any corrosive or acidic chemicals, and any paint thinner, stains or varnishes will also make the list. If you wouldn’t pour it into the ground, it probably won’t be allowed in a landfill.  

Flammable Materials

Flammable liquids like gasoline are probably a no-brainer in this category – you don’t want to cause a landfill fire. But there could be other flammable materials on a jobsite. If you come across containers of chemicals and you aren’t sure whether they’re flammable, look for a flammable hazard symbol on the container. When in doubt, assume the worst and treat unknown liquids or chemicals as potentially flammable or hazardous.

Certain Building Materials

As mentioned, some building materials contain hazardous waste (like asbestos) that cannot be placed in dumpsters. Other types of building materials, like concrete and bricks, are usually allowed in your roll-off, but weight limits will apply. Concrete and brick weight adds up, and there may be restrictions on the amount you can throw out in any one pickup. Check with your rental company before you place your order to learn their policies and weight limits. 

Infectious or Medical Waste

Infectious debris and medical waste are not allowed in dumpsters. This includes obvious things like rags or cloths contaminated with body secretions, needles, red bags and sharps. But you might not know medications can also be considered medical waste. Look out for anything associated with medical treatments. This includes medications during bathroom renovations. You don’t want them ending up in a landfill and causing contamination.

These materials are mainly an issue for commercial facility renovations. Construction and renovation companies should communicate with clients before the job starts to determine what kind waste to expect during the project.

Regular Household Garbage

Some roll-off dumpster companies have regulations around regular household waste, including food waste. You may be fined for throwing food and household waste in a roll-off rental, so be aware. If you need to throw away small amounts of food or household waste in the course of your project, just use the regular municipal garbage collection bins. If you think you’ll throw out a lot of food waste, such as a restaurant renovation, talk with your rental company about disposal options.

Why are there waste rules?

Some of the prohibited items listed above are regulated by government agencies and simply can’t be dumped in landfills. Other materials may be regulated by the dumpster rental company because they can’t properly manage that type of waste. Concrete, for example, can become too heavy to move when placed in a roll-off dumpster.

How can I throw away items that can’t go in a dumpster?

If you have materials that can’t be placed in a dumpster, contact the local sanitation department to find the appropriate method of disposal. The sanitation department may direct you to a recycling center or a private entity that manages that particular waste in the area. Your dumpster rental company may also be able to point you in the right direction.  

There may be extra fees associated with the disposal of these materials. If so, make sure any fees are explained up front and factored into your rental contract. Keep in mind, some materials may require testing before you throw them out. Lead and asbestos testing are common examples. Do your homework and make sure any additional fees are written into the contract before starting the project. 

We’ve helped construction companies manage hazardous waste disposal, and we can help you navigate the disposal process. Give us a call and we’ll help you find the right solution for your project.

How do you install temporary fencing?

Temporary fencing is one of the most important site rentals for construction sites, outdoor special events (who wants wedding crashers?), and large public events like carnivals and fairs. Temporary fencing is useful because it can be moved and shifted as needed, and when properly installed, it serves as an effective barrier that can keep people safe and perimeters secure. So, how do you install temporary fencing? It’s not very difficult, but it does need to be done correctly to keep it secure. The last thing you want is fencing blowing over or creating a hazard.

One special note on fencing: in some areas, installation must be done by qualified technicians. Your temporary fence rental company will be able to help guide you on any local regulations.

1. Assess the Space

Temporary fencing requires level, sturdy ground. It’s best to install fencing during good weather, because mud, rain and wind will make installing your temporary fencing more challenging. Avoid installing fencing on slippery, muddy surfaces or areas where there are sharp dips or changes in elevation. One rainstorm could knock your fencing down. Take the time to survey your space and find the most level, clear, and solid foundation.

2. Establish the Perimeter

Map out where you plan to put down the fence. We have a temporary fencing tool to help you do that. Once you know roughly where your fencing will go, establish the boundary with a line of spray paint on the ground or by setting up cones and caution tape to mark where the fence will go. As a side note: setting up caution tape will help you visualize the fence and will help keep the public away while you’re installing the fencing, which provides a temporary barrier while you work. 

3. Set Up the Base

You’ll need to lay out base blocks to secure your temporary fencing. Base blocks generally come with your fencing rental and they’re easy to use. They’re heavy and keep the fencing panels securely in place along your perimeter. Lay the first base block for your temporary fencing, then place a fence panel in the block. You’ll put a second block beneath the panel on the other side. Next, you’ll insert the next panel into that block and add another block on the other side of that panel. You’ll use this same technique of inserting a leg of each fence panel into a base block all around your perimeter.  

4. Use a Fence Clamp

Connect the first two panels with a fence clamp. A fence clamp stabilizes the fencing and prevents it from wobbling, so tighten the clamp well. Continue to install the fencing all the way around your perimeter by installing one panel at a time and linking pairs of panels with fence clamps. If you’re adding a gate, install it in the same way using base blocks and fence clamps.

5. Install Safety Stays

Safety stays are anchors that keep the fence upright. They’re an important part of the safety and stability of your fence. You’ll install the stays after the entire fence has been assembled. Connect stays to the backs of the fencing panels using brackets near the middle and at either end of the temporary fence. Keep the stays weighted down with something heavy, like a sandbag. 

6. Install Wrapping (If Required)

If you’re installing temporary fencing around a construction site, you may be required to install wrapping around the fence to prevent debris and dust from leaving the construction site. Some companies use banner mesh, other companies use shade cloth rolls. There are different options depending on what you need. Your temporary fence rental company will be able to help you decide what kind of wrapping to choose. Wrapping is rolled on and secured with clips or ties.

7. Inspect Periodically

Temporary fencing can shift over time, especially if it is in a public area. Fencing also gets moved or knocked over during heavy storms or inclement weather. Check your temporary fencing periodically to ensure it’s in good condition, where you intended it to be, and it’s not creating problems for the public. Some other tips:

  • Treat the area for weeds in spring and spray the spaces between and inside base blocks.
  • Sandbags can burst or leak slowly over time, so check sandbags periodically to ensure they’re not damaged. 
  • If there is a risk of your fence toppling over in the wind, set up the fencing panels in a zig-zag pattern, or install a perpendicular panel every 5 panels, to keep the fence stabilized. 

Installing temporary fencing correctly will keep your site secure as well as prevent the fencing from falling over. Your temporary fencing rental company can help you choose the right fencing and installation options for your location. We’ve been helping construction and outdoor event coordinators rent and install temporary fencing since 2009. Give us a call to schedule fencing or bundle all your site services in one package.

Should you order storage containers early in the fall?

Every year the holiday season launches a festive time. The temperatures drop, pumpkin spice is everywhere (and in everything), pumpkin patches and tree lots pop up in the parking lots of retail centers, and holiday layaway plans kick into gear at big-box stores. If you’re running a construction site, you may not know about the seasonal demand for storage containers, portable toilets, and temporary fencing. So, do you need to order storage containers early in the fall?

What’s so special about fall?

Online shopping may be the go-to solution for buying things nowadays, but layaway is still a popular option during the holidays. Retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, and even grocery stores need a place to store all the layaway purchases and extra holiday merchandise – and they rent storage containers to create that extra space.

As we get deeper into the season, you know who else needs storage containers? Tree lots. They also need to rent a lot of fencing, portable toilets, and office trailers. Construction companies that operate through fall and winter end up competing with retailers and even community groups for temporary storage. Make sure to call as early as possible for the best selection.

When to order storage containers

Do you operate in a rural area where you don’t have many retailers or tree lots? It’s still a good idea to get your order in early. Big-box retailers and grocery superstores usually start placing their storage container orders in August. If you wait until September or October, you may find yourself on a wait list or having to pay extra to bring in containers from other areas.

If an unexpected project comes up, or if you aren’t able to order a container that early, there’s a good chance you can still find one in a neighboring area. However, expect to see travel fees or delivery wait times tacked onto your rental.

What’s the best solution for renting storage containers at the end of the year? Call and schedule as early as you can. Even if you can only call a few days in advance, at least there’s time to find a nearby container before your job starts.

We hear from customers every year who are surprised to find out storage containers in their area are booked all the way from pumpkin season to the day-after-Christmas shopping frenzy. But it’s a reality.

Give us a call when you need site services in the fall – or any time of the year. We do the legwork and find solutions, so you don’t have to.

5 Reasons You Need an Event Portable Toilet

You’re planning an outdoor event. You found the space, arranged for parking, got the permits, and ordered the food. You even remembered to send out invites! But what’s arguably the most important rental you need to schedule? Portable toilets. Believe it or not, planners do forget about the toilets. And last-minute scrambling to find outdoor event restrooms can be a very costly mistake between rush fees and extra stress. Event portable toilets shouldn’t be an afterthought. No matter how large or small the gathering, here are five reasons you need portable toilets at your next outdoor event.  

Attendee comfort

No event can survive without a toilet nearby. Preferably more than one. Restrooms are critical for attendee comfort (especially if there’s an open bar!). The type of event portable toilet you choose will also affect attendee comfort. A basic porta potty is perfect for events like fun runs and festivals where many porta potties will be lined up along the course. For upscale events, luxury portable toilets and restroom trailers will add to guest comfort. 

Imagine having an outdoor wedding in the heat and humidity of summer. Wouldn’t guests prefer a climate-controlled restroom trailer instead of a standard portable toilet? There are many types of event portable toilets. Choose the options that maximize guest comfort.

Municipal regulations

What is required to meet local regulations? Most municipalities require portable toilets at outdoor events, and they have to be placed in certain locations. There are also permits and servicing guidelines to follow. This varies by location, but fun runs, carnivals, fairs, outdoor theater gatherings, and other events all trigger restroom requirements. Here’s an example of one city code, and it includes things like:

  • Permit requirements and allowable locations
  • How long the toilet can be left outdoors (typically 4-7 days)
  • How often it has to be serviced
  • Penalties for not complying

Some municipalities require a service person to be on site during the event, so event planners need to ensure they’re familiar with and following all municipal regulations. Contact the local permitting office as soon as possible in the planning process to make sure all requirements are met well before the event. 

Event portable toilet best practices

How many toilets are needed? Believe it or not, there’s a formula for that. The American Restroom Association published a set of guidelines to determine how many toilets are required for most outdoor events. Here are the highlights:

  • Most events require at least one toilet for every 300 people. (Expect long lines in that open bar scenario! We suggest one toilet for every 30 to 50 people for maximum comfort.)
  • Events with primarily women and children require at least one toilet for every 200 people. (Parents can empathize, right? But again, that’s probably not enough toilets for a wedding or smaller event.)
  • Events with adults drinking alcoholic beverages require at least one toilet for every 240 people. (Imagine waiting in line behind 239 people, though.)

These are only guidelines. Depending on the event, it’s a good idea to provide more than the suggested number of toilets. If the budget is tight, it’s probably fine to go with the minimum suggested number. But never provide less than the suggested amount (or no toilet at all). That’s a recipe for bathroom disaster.  

Reduce the risk of infection 

We’re living in a time where a pandemic shut down the world. Suffice it to say, the more hand washing stations, the better. Yes, it’s possible to rent additional hand sanitizing stations for outdoor events. It’s also possible to rent restroom trailers with running water and flushing toilets, if water hookups are available. And for multi-day events, it’s possible to request additional sanitizing services.

For more information about hand washing station requirements during a global pandemic (and really, it’s good advice in general), refer to the CDC’s website. Always provide adequate hand washing stations and hand sanitizer to help lower the risk of infection. Read the latest rules and best practices before finalizing the event planning.   

Keep things clean!

Let’s be real. Providing at least one portable toilet at an outdoor event will prevent people from going rogue. (No one wants to see their guests “watering the plants” after too many drinks at the bar.) Renting event portable toilets isn’t only about guest comfort. It’s also about keeping the outdoor space clean.

The location should be left in the same condition it was in when guests arrived. Portable toilets, along with proper garbage disposal, helps keep the area from getting trashed during the event. This protects the environment. And it prevents disputes with residents who have to live with the clean-up when the event ends.  

Event portable toilets are easy to rent, and they can make or break guest comfort. Give us a call to have an account manager help schedule the right type and number of portable toilets for your next event.

washing hands

The do’s and don’ts of hand washing stations

Hand washing has been a hot topic in 2020 (for obvious reasons). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has had hand washing facility requirements in place for decades. But there are updated recommendations when preparing workplaces, retail locations (especially pharmacies), and construction sites for workers in light of COVID-19. If you run a construction site, or you’re managing a location where people have to gather, here are some do’s and don’ts of hand washing stations that you may not have considered.

Do: Set up adequate hand washing stations

Pharmacies were among the first businesses that had to consider installing additional hand washing stations. People stop by to pick up prescriptions, and they often stand in waiting areas. Most often they’re sick or have a compromised immune system. There is also the fact pharmacy employees are coming into contact with people who may be sick.

Many retail locations, as well as construction sites, have installed standalone hand washing stations or hand sanitizing stations. Aim to provide a station for every 10-12 people who work in the area.

Do: Keep units in a climate-controlled area

When temperatures drop in winter, you don’t want hand washing stations freezing up. In order to function, they need to be somewhat climate controlled. If the worksite isn’t enclosed, or if there isn’t an enclosed area nearby to accommodate hand washing stations, consider placing it in a storage container with open doors on either end. Or create a temporary enclosure that protects the unit from wind, snow, and freezing temperatures.

Don’t: Place units far away from service entrances

For retail facilities or enclosed worksites, place hand washing stations near a docking area or fire exit. Service trucks will have to access the units, and service technicians need to easily get to the unit without having to remove it completely. Keeping units indoors near a docking area or major exit also makes things convenient for employees and guests who need to use the stations.

Don’t: Skip the station if you can’t find one

When the 2020 pandemic was at its height, the wait-list for hand washing stations was weeks or even months in most places. Hand wash station manufacturers went into overdrive to produce more units to meet demand. If you ever find it difficult to locate a hand wash station or hand sanitizer dispenser, don’t go without. Get creative and see if you can rig something up. Some of our clients reported converting small food truck trailers into hand washing stations. The University of New Mexico even has an example of how to create a small hand washing station for farm workers (although they could work at any outdoor location).

The old rule of thumb used to be one hand washing station for every 20 employees on a jobsite. To encourage more hand washing, it may be better to lower that ratio down to 10 or 12. No matter how many units you need for your location, we can help you get them scheduled and serviced. Give us a call if you need to add hand wash stations to your jobsite.