3 Ways to Destroy a Dumpster

Your crew might think that roll-off on your worksite is indestructible, but it’s easier than you think to destroy a dumpster. And if your crew damages a roll-off rental, you could see thousands of dollars in damage and replacement fees. Before you get dinged with unexpected damage fees, here are the three most common ways people destroy dumpsters on a jobsite. They may be made of steel and capable of hauling tons of weight (literally), but it’s actually pretty easy to do permanent damage to a roll-off. Here’s what to watch out for.

#1: Add too much weight.

Let’s say you rent a dumpster that can hold 10 cubic yards of waste. But you didn’t mention to the hauler that you’re throwing out concrete and brick, so they didn’t factor in the extra weight of the materials. Heavy materials like concrete and brick require special consideration due to the load’s added weight. If you don’t factor in the weight, it can’t be loaded on the truck it because it’s too heavy. Worse yet, it’s possible the dumpster’s sides and door will warp from the weight. This can cause the latch to break, so it can’t be latched onto the truck.

The best-case scenario here is you can manually empty the dumpster to create smaller batches. Worst-case scenario, the dumpster will bend, deform, and potentially be irreparably damaged if you attempt to move it. Any time you have heavy materials like concrete, bricks or dirt, make sure you tell your hauler and choose the right size.    

#2: Use a forklift.

So many people think this moving a dumpster with a forklift is a good idea, and it never is. Make sure everyone in the crew hears this message: Do not move a dumpster with a forklift. It doesn’t matter how small the dumpster is. It doesn’t matter how skilled the forklift driver is. It doesn’t matter how many people swear they’ve successfully moved a dumpster with a forklift, and it worked out fine. Do yourself a favor and don’t risk the damage.

More often than not, when people try to move dumpsters with forklifts, they end up poking holes into the side of the dumpster. It’s easier to do than you think. And once the dumpster has holes, it has to be welded or replaced. Welding can cost up to a thousand dollars, and replacement will usually be triple that (or more). If you need your roll-off moved after it’s been delivered, just give your hauler a call. They can safely move it with the right equipment, and a relocation fee is a lot less expensive than replacing the whole dumpster.

#3: Don’t prepare.

This one might seem obvious, but if it was, people wouldn’t have dumpsters stuck in the mud for six weeks during rainy season. Before your dumpster arrives, properly prepare the installation space. Ideally, the dumpster should sit on a level paved or hard surface that will be easy for the roll-off delivery truck to access. Don’t put it in a field on the bare ground. No matter how dry or level it seems, all it takes is one moderate rainstorm and the dumpster will sink into mud. A truck won’t be able to pull it out until everything is fully dry, which could take days or weeks. You’ll get stuck paying for the extra rental time, and the dumpster could be damaged if you try to move it too soon.

What if your jobsite is in a rural area where there are no roads or paved surfaces? Create a dumpster “place mat” with plywood or gravel (grate), or both, to give the dumpster some elevation from potential mud. This will also help with traction when delivering and servicing the dumpster.

Damaging or destroying a dumpster can cost you several thousand dollars in repair or replacement fees. Play it safe and avoid these common pitfalls with your next rental. If you have questions about renting and placing dumpsters on your jobsite, give us a call. We’re here to help you get the most out of your dumpster rentals.

5 Commercial Renovation Trends for 2021

COVID-19 changed the way everyone does business, and commercial renovation trends are changing to keep up with workplace changes. As of June 2020, an estimated 42 percent of the labor force was working from home. In 2021, many businesses are expected to incorporate hybrid working models to keep people at home. And some studies suggest up to 70% of the workforce may want to return to the office for the majority of their week. As more business owners and companies are faced with a new normal, property owners are planning renovations and asking themselves: What will the office of the future look like? 

1. Bathrooms for the Modern Era

We always knew that clean bathrooms were an important feature in commercial buildings. But after battling a global pandemic, sanitary bathrooms have become more important than ever. Buildings that haven’t yet made the switch to touchless toilets and sink faucets should consider making these updates. Modern conveniences like these help put people at ease, and it helps people avoid contact with surfaces that could lead to illnesses. 

2. Touchless Technology

Touchless features aren’t just for bathrooms. This technology has been gaining traction in other parts of the building as well, including doors, elevators and even coffee makers. Imagine a cappuccino machine that syncs to an app and allows anyone to use the machine without touching its surface. Or an elevator with an infrared panel that senses the floor that your finger is hovering over. 

This might sound expensive to implement, but the demand for these technologies has dramatically increased in recent years. Watch technology companies for updates on touchless devices as demand rises and the technology becomes more affordable. 

3. Collaborative Spaces

While it’s true that office work has changed in 2020, it’s also true that hybrid workplaces have been around for years. The hybrid office concept gained steam even before the pandemic hit. For several years, companies have been shifting toward a more collaborative workspace. Employees have been splitting their time between tasks at the office and tasks at home. In fact, CNBC predicted offices will become “elaborate conference centers.” Instead of traditional office layouts, tenants are looking for collaboration rooms combined with privacy booths for independent tasks. 

What does this mean in practice? Cubicles will be removed and replaced with conference rooms and collaborative spaces. Around the perimeter, scattered in corners and in convenient locations, you’ll find individual workstations, available on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

4. A Reimagined Footprint

Many companies realized in 2020 that they may not need very much office space. They could save a great deal of money by reducing their office footprint. And why shouldn’t they cut back their office space, with all their employees working from home? 

Commercial property owners followed suit and are now re-thinking their commercial office spaces. Footprints are changing. Occupants are asking for new types of space. And property owners are striving to create more flexible spaces. Everyone is looking for the flexibility to divide, sub-divide, and lease spaces in creative ways. 

5. HVAC Investments

Fresh air is vital for improving indoor air quality and maintaining the health of everyone in the building. Contractors have known this for years. And now CREs see the importance of installing HVAC systems that provide the maximum number of air changes per hour. Companies are more aware of air circulation and filtration, and this translates to what they expect from their office buildings. Property owners are already evaluating HVAC upgrades that promote health and wellness among their buildings’ occupants. 

COVID-19 has heavily influenced commercial renovation trends in 2021. If you’re planning, or working on, a major commercial renovation project, give us a call. We can bundle all your jobsite services – from portable toilets to storage to dumpsters – in one, easy call.

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.