Ask Angela: portable toilets for camping

Angela Phillips is a Senior Account Manager III at ZTERS Waste Solutions. She helps customers with some of their most challenging site service issues, and she answers your questions here on our website.

Angela, we’re going camping for a family reunion and there are going to be a lot of us camping in one place—all ages—with no facilities nearby. Can we take a portable toilet camping?

Great question. It’s one we hear every year, especially since “glamping” became a thing. We also get this question from scout troops. The answer is probably, with some caveats. It depends on where you’re camping and the type of terrain.

You could always purchase small, portable camping toilets from an outdoors store or online, but that’s not going to give you privacy, and you’ll be left with bags of waste to clean up. I’m guessing you want something that operates more like a traditional porta potty or restroom trailer.

There are several porta potty options available, including larger ADA-compliant toilets and restroom trailers with shower stalls. Depending on how many people you’ll have, and the size of the location, you could go with a delivered trailer, a traditional porta potty, or there are even tow-able portable toilets on flatbed trailers that you can tow to the site yourself.

When deciding on what to rent, keep in mind a delivery truck will need to access the area (unless you’re towing it yourself). Also, you don’t mention whether you’ll be on private land or a state or federal park. Either way you’ll need permission to park a toilet on your campground.

Some public parks will allow you to bring portable toilet trailers, but you need to check with the park services department. There may be permits and fees involved. And if they do allow porta potties, they may have specific requirements for placement and features. For example, beaches will most likely require a protective base to prevent any leaks from getting into the sand. Always check with the location before you rent a toilet to make sure you’ll be allowed to bring it with you.

Another consideration is access to water and electricity. If you rent a restroom trailer, you’ll more than likely need access to both. For large units like these, it may require an extra fee if they need to manually change out the water and sewage tanks. Be sure to find out what’s available near near the campsite and what you’ll need to deliver or service the toilet.

Taking a portable toilet camping is doable, you just need to do a little planning beforehand. Have a great family reunion! And give us a call if you need help finding the right product for your site. 

commercial waste

How to Conduct a Commercial Waste Audit

Property owners and facility managers know all about waste. From new waste reduction legislation to changes in the recycling industry, it’s important to measure a building’s waste output on a regular basis. Conduct a commercial waste audit to “right-size” a building’s waste service and make service contracts more efficient and effective.

These waste audit tips are taken from “Right-sizing Commercial Waste Solutions” by Dan Studer. Dan is the division manager for the ZTERS commercial waste division.

Why is a commercial waste audit important?

The Frontier Group, a policy research organization, estimates people throw away seven pounds of materials—per person—each day in the United States. Now multiply that by the number of residents or occupants in a building. That adds up to a huge amount of garbage.

Add to that the rising cost of recycling and new waste-related legislation. Property owners and facility managers have to keep close tabs on waste. Otherwise they’re paying overage fees, or worse, penalties for not disposing of waste properly.

How to conduct a commercial waste audit?

A waste audit, or waste assessment, establishes a baseline for future waste reduction efforts. Here’s a three-step method for conducting a basic waste audit:

  1. Examine waste records. Review waste hauling and disposal invoices, recycling contracts, supply invoices, and operating and maintenance logs. Identify costs associated with each phase of collecting and removing waste.
  2. Walk through the facility. Observe where waste is generated and where it ends up. Talk with members of each department to find out what type of waste is produced and where it ends up.
  3. Conduct a waste sort. Physically collect and weigh a day’s worth of waste. Decide how to quantify the waste. For example, is it paper, plastic, metal, or organic material? Determine which materials can be exchanged, sold, reused, or recycled.

Bottom-line benefits of a waste audit

Waste audits aren’t just useful for gauging and managing a building’s waste stream. It also helps property owners and facility managers determine how to improve recycling and reuse efforts. It identifies areas of overall system improvement. And it can provide data to help renegotiate waste contracts or evaluate new waste solutions.

ZTERS Commercial Waste Division helps commercial property owners and facility managers evaluate their waste streams and find the right solution to meet any budget. We work with properties nationwide to provide custom waste solutions, one point of contact (no matter how many facilities you own or manage) and streamlined invoicing with one account manager.

Streamline your waste service with ZTERS. We’re your one-stop partner in commercial waste services. Give us a call to find out more.

temporary dog fencing image

Ask Angela: Temporary fencing for dogs?

Angela Phillips is a Senior Account Manager III at ZTERS Waste Solutions. She helps customers with some of their most challenging site service issues, and she answers your questions here on our website.

Hey Angela, we’ve got some dogs visiting our property for a short time. Can we order temporary fencing for dogs?

Hi, there. Thank you for asking. You have no idea how many times we hear this question. It seems logical, right? Just put up some temporary fencing and you’ve got a dog run? But unfortunately, the answer is almost always no, and here’s why:

Temporary fencing is made specifically for people. Construction site fencing and event fencing for crowds are designed for areas where you need to keep people safe and away from dangers like heavy equipment, high-voltage electricity, or traffic and other dangers to crowds. We even wrote a blog post on how temporary fencing saves lives.  

Think about how temporary fencing is constructed to meet these needs. You’re going to rent either large panels that are weighted down for construction sites, or the shorter “bicycle fencing” used at events. Neither of these styles are made to keep a dog penned in.

If you’ve ever had a dog, you know how often they dig under, or jump over, fences. Dog fencing has to be sturdy enough to handle dog shenanigans. With standard temporary fencing used in construction and events, strong dogs could potentially push over panels. In any of these cases, you’ll end up with loose dogs to round up.

Even if you dig posts and create a more stable temporary fencing solution, it still isn’t as good as a dog run or kennel panels that are designed for dogs.

All in all, using temporary fencing rentals for dogs opens up a lot of liability issues. It also creates an unsafe environment for the dogs. What happens when they get out? With dogs…any and everything.

The good news is you can buy kennel kits at any home improvement or hardware store. Some of the large big-box stores also carry them. And of course, you can order them online. These kits are designed for dogs, and they come in many different sizes. They’re relatively easy to install, and in a lot of cases they’re less expensive than trying to create your own system using temporary fencing rentals.   

We always recommend people invest in an outdoor kennel kit and not temporary fencing for dogs. You might think kennel kits look very similar to the temporary fencing you rent for construction and event use, but they’re not the same. Get a kennel kit designed and tested specifically for dogs. From a liability standpoint, it’s a lot better than having your dogs on the loose.

I hope that answered your question. Keep the questions coming! We’re always here to help. And give us a call for any of your non-dog temporary fencing needs. We can bundle all your construction worksite or event site services with one call.

Top 5 ZTERS Waste Posts of 2019

As 2020 rises on the horizon, let’s take a look back at the top five ZTERS Waste Solutions blog posts of 2019. Perhaps not surprisingly, our Ask Angela columns were some of the most viewed pages. Do you have waste solution questions? Reach out through our Facebook or LinkedIn pages and ask your most pressing question!

#5 (tie): Temporary Fence Rentals

Number five on the list was a tie, but both posts were about temporary fence rentals. Lots of people were interested in their fencing rental options in 2019.

Ask Angela: Do I really need temporary fencing on my construction worksite?

What to know about the types of temporary fence rentals

#4: Commercial Waste Service

Did you know ZTERS has a commercial waste division that services facilities like warehouses, retail, restaurants, multifamily, and industrial spaces? We had a fair number of site visitors looking for commercial waste solutions. If you manage a real estate portfolio, we have custom solutions to streamline your waste and recycling.

Commercial waste services: expectation vs. reality

#3: Dumpster Rental Fees

Not surprisingly, we had a lot of interest in our post on hidden fees. So many customers call us because they got hit with tons of extra fees when they booked dumpsters with other companies. Our pricing is always upfront, and we won’t stick you with hidden fees.

Top 10 dumpster hidden fees

#2: The ZTERS + PlanGrid Integration

Considering we only launched this integration in November, it’s incredible we had so many visits to the post announcing this new tool. PlanGrid is the number one project management software for construction professionals, and our new integration means they can order temporary service rentals right from their dashboard. If you’re a PlanGrid user, you need to check it out!

Temporary construction rentals streamlined with new ZTERS + PlanGrid integration

And the #1 ZTERS Waste Post…

Planning an outdoor wedding: Here are your toilet options

With so many outdoor weddings hosted each year, it’s probably not surprising that our number one blog post (by a lot!) was our post on wedding toilet options. If you’ve got a wedding or outdoor event coming up in 2020, call us to schedule your portable toilets. We also help with dumpsters, temporary fencing, and storage containers if you need those services.

ZTERS 2019 celebration

ZTERS 2019: A year of celebration

This year marked the ZTERS ten-year anniversary, and it was a year of firsts for our company. We launched new tools. We won a couple of awards. And we are extremely grateful for all our staff, customers, and vendors who made 2019 such an eventful year. Here’s a recap of some of the ZTERS highlights for 2019.

The year started with the launch of myZTERS.com, our custom-built customer portal that streamlined online account management. We spent a lot of time listening to customers’ feedback and building this portal, and we continue to work on features to make your account management easier.

We also launched the ZTERS Fencing Calculator. This tool is a faster, more accurate way to estimate the amount of temporary fencing you’ll need for your jobs. Use it to plan out your fencing, then contact us for a rental quote. It’s that easy!

One last way we made rentals easier this year: the new ZTERS integration for PlanGrid project management software. We created this tool so PlanGrid users can quickly and easily get quotes for all their temporary services through their reports dashboard.

This year wasn’t just about new tools, though. We were honored to be named a 2019 Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Company. And to round out the year, our awesome Zeeps were surveyed by the Houston Chronicle and we were named one of the Houston Chronicle Top Workplaces 2019.

It has been an incredible year and an incredible decade. We look forward to being your waste partners for the next ten years and beyond. Thank you for being part of our growth!

ZTERS Top Houston Workplace 2019 graphic

The Houston Chronicle names ZTERS a winner of the Houston Top Workplaces 2019 Award

Houston, Texas, December 2, 2019 – ZTERS Site Services has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2019 honor by The Houston Chronicle. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner Energage, LLC, a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.

“The Top Workplaces award is about much more than recognition and celebration,” said Eric Rubino, CEO of Energage. “Our research also shows that these organizations achieve higher referral rates, lower employee turnover, and double the employee engagement levels. It just goes to show that being intentional about culture delivers bottom-line results.”

The award caps a banner year for the company, which was also named a 2019 Inc. 5,000 Fastest-Growing Company. The family-owned company is building a new headquarters in Cypress, Texas to keep up with company growth.

 “Many of our people have been with us every step of the way and the company’s personality is and always will be a reflection of the people who work here,” said Jon Farley, ZTERS CEO. “Every person here cares about each other, about our customers, and about our vendors. I firmly believe we have the best people in the industry and our success is a direct result of their hard work and commitment.”

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ABOUT ZTERS

ZTERS has been named one of Inc. 5000’s Fastest-Growing Companies and a Houston Chronicle Best Workplace. Since 2009, the company has provided top-rated waste solutions, including dumpsters, portable toilets, temporary fencing, storage containers, and portable offices to construction sites. They also offer commercial waste services to warehouses, industrial, retail, and restaurant facilities. A customer-first approach means every project has a dedicated account manager who provides an upfront quote with no hidden fees.

About Energage, LLC
Headquartered in Exton, Pa., Energage is a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools that help leaders to unlock potential, inspire performance, and achieve amazing results within their organizations. The research partner behind the Top Workplaces program, Energage has surveyed more than 58,000 organizations representing well over 20 million employees in the United States.

waste advice from ZTERS

Ask Angela: How do we winterize portable toilets?

Angela Phillips is a Senior Account Manager III at ZTERS Waste Solutions. She helps customers with some of their most challenging site service issues, and she answers your questions here on our website.

Hi Angela: Is there anything we need to do to winterize portable toilets? We’ve got porta potties on a jobsite, and it’s scheduled to run through the winter. We don’t want to end up with a frozen mess, you know?

Angela: With winter coming, this is a great question. We hear this every year from customers in cold climates. In most cases, your vendor is going to handle any portable toilet winterizing for you. In fact, whether you want it or not, many portable toilets come prepackaged with winterizing chemicals and a winterization fee of $10-20 per billing cycle per toilet. That’s already built in when you rent. But that’s not always the case, so it’s good to know what to do with toilets in winter.

The first part of the answer is it depends on where you’re located. If you’re in the South, or in areas that don’t freeze very often, you probably don’t need to do anything special. One or two days of freezing weather likely won’t cause a problem.

But if you’re in an area where temperatures regularly drop below freezing, your portable toilet vendor will need to come out and winterize porta potties. This is something we help our customers schedule, but you can also bring it up to your vendor before the temperature drops.

Here’s what’s involved in porta potty winterizing:

In most cases, the vendor drops a special chloride pellet mix into the toilet each time it’s serviced. These pellets protect the porta potty from freezing in temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit. These need to be refreshed weekly, so your service schedule needs to be regular for this to be effective through winter.

What about places where temperatures regularly drop below -25 F? In some areas it makes more sense for vendors to simply swap out the toilet. Each time they service, they’ll remove the existing toilet and drop off a new one. This is a pretty expensive option, though, and it can be labor intensive. This isn’t common, but you may see this depending on how cold it gets in your area.

A more common version of the swap-out is the tank swap-out. Some portable toilets now have smaller collection tanks, and these tanks can be swapped out instead of removing the entire toilet. With these porta potties, a vendor will just remove the existing tank, insert a new tank, and you’ve got a clean, non-frozen porta potty through winter.

For most jobsites in the U.S. you’re going to see the chlorine pellet method. There are some other things you can do to help prevent freezing, though. For example, move porta potties to a protected area that limits their exposure to wind. Place them against a wall or pack sandbags around the base to help prevent winter winds from freezing the contents. Wind-chill is a major reason porta potty freeze in the first place.

You can also invest in small space heaters that are specifically made for porta potties. Check with your vendor on whether they recommend this method for your particular toilets. Placing them in an enclosed area would be ideal, if that’s possible.

One last thing to consider in winter is whether to swap out your single portable toilets for a restroom trailer. Restroom trailers are larger and can be ordered with multiple stalls inside. If you have the space and electrical access, they can be heated and are way more comfortable for crew members.

We help contractors and project managers find winter solutions for construction sites every year. Give us a call if you have questions about your winter service options.

ZTERS PlanGrid integration screenshot

Temporary Construction Rentals Streamlined with New ZTERS PlanGrid Integration

Construction project managers can now easily order temporary worksite rentals using the new ZTERS PlanGrid integration. Award-winning rental service provider ZTERS Site Services and PlanGrid, a leading construction productivity software that is part of Autodesk Construction Solutions. PlanGrid has been used on more than 1.5 million construction projects around the world and helps teams manage key construction workflows. The ZTERS PlanGrid integration is now available nationwide and allows customers to easily order temporary worksite solutions, including portable toilets, dumpsters, temporary fencing, office trailers, and storage containers, directly through the PlanGrid desktop or mobile app.

Finding the right products and vendors for construction sites usually takes multiple phone calls across several vendors. This requires hours of price shopping and bidding, and creates a logistical challenge for project managers, particularly if they manage multiple job sites. Since 2009, ZTERS has helped construction project managers streamline their workflow by providing all their temporary worksite services with one phone call and simplified invoicing. More than 6,000 active worksites rely on ZTERS each day for reliable temporary services. Now, to simplify the rental process even further, project managers can request services directly within PlanGrid.

Construction project managers using PlanGrid can fill out a service request form in the app to select the services they need, and a dedicated ZTERS account manger will locate the right rentals to meet the project’s requirements and budget. After an initial phone call to confirm service selections and delivery dates, project managers will have one point of contact for all their service rentals. ZTERS helps manage rentals nationwide, no matter how many locations a PM manages.

“Businesses change rapidly, and competition in the age of the internet often comes from unexpected directions. We need to be innovative in our service offerings and service fulfillment,” says ZTERS President and CEO Jon Farley.

Construction professionals nationwide use PlanGrid to manage projects every day. With the ZTERS PlanGrid integration, they’ll be able to order jobsite solutions straight from the same mobile interface where they manage their site construction workflow. This integration will save customers hours of time spent searching for and managing various rental services across the country.  

“With projects becoming increasingly complex, the construction industry needs to streamline processes wherever possible to operate more efficiently on the jobsite,” said James Cook, head of strategic alliances and partners, PlanGrid. “We are committed to empowering our customers with more productivity, and our work with companies like ZTERS enables customers to get more done simply, easily and more quickly.”

“We have grown a lot and learned a lot in the last 10 years, but our goal is still the same: To provide the best customer service in the industry and the most inclusive set of services to meet customers’ needs,” Farley says.

To learn more about the ZTERS PlanGrid integration, visit www.zters.com/integrations/plangrid/.

roll-off container

What Kind of Roll-off Container Rental Do You Need?

You may not realize you have choices when it comes to roll-off container rentals. Most people think they have to go with a regular steel roll-off dumpster, but there are other options available. Depending on your worksite and the type of debris you need to haul, there are several styles to choose from. Here are five kinds of roll-off rentals to consider for your next project.

Roll-off container rentals for solid waste

Most people are dealing with solid waste. That is, waste that has no detrimental impact on the water table or the general environment and human health. Things like standard construction debris (with no possibility of lead contamination) and grease trap waste fall into this category. So, solid waste doesn’t necessarily have to be “solid.” Liquids like sludge and septic waste are also classified as solid waste.

Standard roll-off containers

Rectangular roll-off containers are what most people think of when they’re looking for a roll-off rental. These metal containers are available in light, medium, and heavy-duty grades. If you have light debris, such as a small renovation or clean out, the light grade roll-off should be enough for you. Standard construction debris is heavier and sharp enough that you’d probably want a medium-duty roll-off. And the heavy-duty containers are typically reserved for scrap yards and other industrial uses where the container needs to last a long time under extreme conditions.

Tub containers

As the name implies, these roll-off containers are shaped more like tubs. They have tapered, smooth sides, which makes them easy to dump, and you can customize them with vinyl decals if you need to. Just like standard roll-offs, these are available in light, medium, and heavy-duty grades. These are most often used for recycling materials and scrap collection.

Sealed containers

If you’re dealing with wet solid waste, you’re going to need a sealed container. These are actually a subset of standard and tub containers, because they’re built to the same specifications but they’re able to securely hold liquid. The sludge containers are built to a heavier duty standard, while sealed containers fall into the light or medium-duty category. Because the seams and hinges are sealed on these containers, they’re more secure than standard roll-offs. This makes them good for more than just liquid waste disposal. If you need a secure container with sealed seams—for any reason—look into sealed and sludge containers.

Dewatering containers

You’ll know if you need a dewatering container. These containers are built with special baskets that separate solids from liquids. As you pour waste into the container the solids are kept inside the basket while the liquid drains out and can be disposed of separately. The main benefit is to reduce weight and save on disposal fees, but they can also used for filtration.

Recyclers

While recycling can go into standard or tub-style containers, there are custom recycling containers with internal dividers. This style is used most frequently in areas where recycling is mandatory, however, they are also used on any site where materials are separated for recycling or re-selling. 

Roll-off containers for hazardous waste

Hazardous waste requires special handling because it’s detrimental to the environment and to people exposed to it. There are different container options for different types of hazardous waste, including a version of sealed and sludge containers and specialty containers developed for specific types of waste. Because these are so specialized, it’s best to speak with someone who knows the industry and can help recommend the right container. We help with all kinds of waste, including hazardous.

Give us a call if you have questions about roll-offs for your project. We’ll help you find the right type of rental for your worksite. And want to bundle your site services in one package? We also schedule portable toilets, temporary fencing, storage containers, and mobile offices. Everything you need in one phone call.

waste advice from ZTERS

Ask Angela: Do I really need temporary fencing on my construction worksite?

Angela Phillips is a Senior Account Manager III at ZTERS Waste Solutions. She helps customers with some of their most challenging site service issues, and she answers your questions here on our website.

Hi Angela, We’re doing a small new build on a vacant lot. It’s not near a lot of foot traffic, but there are a couple of main roads and other businesses nearby. It’s also near a residential area. Is construction temporary fencing really necessary? What are our options?

Angela: Hey there, thanks for asking. This is a great question. First of all, it’s ultimately up to you and the ordinances in your area whether temporary fencing is required or not. So, check that first. However, if you’re near businesses and residences you may want to consider safety and liability risks if unauthorized people make their way onto your worksite.

You have a few options with temporary fencing for construction sites. Basic fence panels are often used on small, short projects like the one you described. The most common sizes are 6’ x 10’ or 6’ x 12’, and they come with stands that are weighted down with sandbags or concrete blocks. Temporary fencing panels are easy to set up. If you have a small job, you can probably install the fencing yourself with your crew.

Of course, we can always help you schedule delivery and setup. Some areas, especially on federal properties, require temporary fencing to be installed by union workers at prevailing wages. If you’re not sure whether that applies to your project, we’ll be able to find out and let you know.

When using fence panels, you may want to add an optional wind screen (also called privacy screen or scrims). If privacy or security are issues, you’ll probably be better off with a temporary post-driven chain link fence. But you can definitely add privacy screen to fence panels if you use heavy sandbags to weight them down. If you put wind screen on regular panel fencing, it’ll act as a sail…so if the wind kicks up you’ll find yourself with fencing panels flying all over the place!

Post-driven chain link fencing is the most common temporary fencing we see with our customers. This is when metal posts are sunk in the ground and chain link fencing is installed around the perimeter of the worksite. You can add privacy screen, or leave it uncovered. It’s best for projects that will go on for a while and where you want a little extra security on the site. It’s harder for unauthorized people to get through chain link than it is to move fencing panels.

With panels or post-driven chain link, you’re able to add vehicle gates and personnel gates. You can see there are lots of options, even if you have a small worksite. We can even help you order plastic orange safety fencing if you only need to temporarily fence off heavy equipment or electrical units.

If you’re not sure how much fencing you need, we’ve built an interactive fencing tool that’ll help you figure out how much to rent and where to position gates. Or, you can always give us a call and we’ll walk you though it. Good luck with your new building!