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.

Ask Angela: Can you put a dumpster over a septic tank?

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

Dear Angela, we’ve got limited space on our worksite. Can we put a dumpster over a septic tank?

Hey, there. I’m really glad you asked this question because we’ve had a few customers over the years who have discovered there’s a very costly answer. Basically, no, we don’t advise it. And I’m going to tell you why.

First of all, any time you’re doing work near a septic tank you need to be very careful what you place on or near the tank. They aren’t built to withstand the weight of a dumpster, or even a storage container. You shouldn’t even park on them, to be honest.

If your site has a septic tank, make sure it’s clearly marked so your crew doesn’t accidentally park or drive heavy equipment over it. In fact, it’s a good idea to put up some temporary fencing or orange safety fencing just to make sure everyone knows it’s there.

Second, make sure you order an extra porta potty or two depending on the size of your crew. Most septic tanks are built for families – we’re talking five or six people max – so it’s almost guaranteed you’ll have issues if you’ve got a whole crew trying to use bathrooms hooked to that septic tank.

We’ve had customers who didn’t take this advice and ended up with a backed-up tank that needed an emergency pump-out or complete clean-out. Both of those options take time and will leave your site without facilities. Our advice is play it safe and get a porta potty for the crew.

Finally, let’s address your underlying question. It sounds like you don’t have a lot of space at your worksite. You may have space for a smaller dumpster that can be serviced more frequently, or we might be able to place the dumpster in a driveway or on the street (if your municipality allows that). Visit our dumpster sizing page to see the different sizes available or give us a call and we can help you find the right solution.

As always, thanks for asking your question! Our goal is to help you avoid costly errors whenever possible. We’re always here to help, so reach out through the comments section of our social media accounts if you have a question for us!

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.

Ask Angela: What should we do if there’s a dumpster fire?

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

Angela, this question isn’t meant to be funny, but what if we have a dumpster fire?

Thanks for asking this question – dumpster fires can and do happen. We had a customer not too long ago who had a major fire in a dumpster. Luckily, no one was hurt. But dumpster fires can be deadly, and they can definitely cause a lot of damage. In fact, Fire Engineering Magazine reported on a dumpster fire that caused an explosion at a manufacturing plant. Several firefighters were injured, and unfortunately one person died of their injuries.

To start, let’s talk about dumpster safety. Here are some basic tips for reducing dumpster fire hazard risks:

  • Never dispose of hazardous or flammable materials in a dumpster. There are better, more secure ways to dispose of these items, and we’re working on a guide for that. In the meantime, here are some items you shouldn’t throw in dumpsters.
  • Keep the area clear around the dumpster. If a fire starts outside the dumpster, you don’t want nearby materials igniting and spreading into the dumpster.
  • Post no smoking signs near the dumpster and make sure any employees or building tenants know not to throw lit cigarette butts in or near the dumpster. It only takes one carelessly tossed cigarette to start a fire.

If you do have a dumpster fire, don’t try to extinguish it yourself – call 911. If your dumpster has a hinged lid and you’re able to safely close it, go ahead and close it to help prevent the fire from spreading. Don’t endanger yourself or others, though.  

If the lid is already closed, but you know a fire is burning inside, do not open the lid! Leave it closed and wait for firefighters. Opening the lid could create a backdraft, which would be far more dangerous.

Dumpster fires almost always destroy the dumpster – the lid may melt off if it’s plastic, and any paint or decals will likely be destroyed. The dumpster itself may warp. If any of these things happen, and it’s a rental, contact the rental company after the fire is safely extinguished.

Safety is the first priority during a dumpster fire. After that, there will more than likely be a fire investigation and depending on the circumstances, you may end up owing damages.

The best advice – and this is true for all aspects of life – is to avoid dumpster fires to begin with.

Have you ever had a dumpster fire, or do you have tips for preventing them? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts. 

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.

Ask Angela: How does ZTERS decide which waste haulers to use?

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

This is a great question because it’s one people are often curious about. You might already know, ZTERS is essentially a waste broker, which means we work with haulers all over the country to schedule the right services for our construction and event customers. Our network of local haulers is pretty extensive, especially because we’ve been doing this for more than a decade.

One thing we like to mention is what sets us apart in the industry. We’re a family-run company and we work personally with a lot of local, small businesses as well as major regional and nationwide haulers. We develop relationships with all kinds of businesses to make sure they’re top-quality servicers. In fact, we even have a team dedicated to our hauler relationships. We want everyone to be successful and have a positive experience.

Having said that, there is a method to the madness. We’ve developed a proprietary ranking system over the years that measures things like reliability, service quality, and pricing. Being the cheapest is not always the best, especially if reliability is a problem! We strive to make sure all our customers get the best service possible, so we work with waste haulers who provide consistently reliable deliveries and maintenance. And we’ve gotten to know many of our haulers as friends!

Ultimately, our goal is to make sure everyone wins – from great service to ongoing business relationships. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

As we’ve grown over the years, so has our network. We’re coming up on almost 15,000 vendors in our hauler network, and that number continues to grow. Being in business this long, and with this size of a network, we know where to go when a challenging request comes in. We know who to call when there’s a storm-related shortage, or when a last-minute delivery request comes in, or even when a customer needs service in a remote area.

I hope that answers your question! The bottom line is we look at many factors, and we’ve developed a data-based system, to find the most reliable waste haulers nationwide. If you have other questions, or if you want to know “how the sausage is made,” drop us a line through social media or email. Thanks for your question!

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.

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.

Ask Angela: Helping crew members feel safe after the shutdown

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.

Dear Angela, Now that work is ramping back up from the Covid-19 shutdown, how can we help our crew members feel safe being back on the worksite?

This is a great question that a lot of people are asking right now. We know many construction sites continued operation throughout the shutdown because construction is considered an essential business in many places. However, we’re also seeing areas that were previously shut down now slowly starting to resume projects. Every state is different, and we’ve seen a wide range of experiences with our customers.

Like most businesses, we keep a close eye on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and they have a Community Mitigation Framework with guidelines around protecting workers and the public in general when congregating at work or in public places. This includes things like practicing social distancing of at least six feet, hand washing regularly, sanitizing areas more frequently, and wearing masks where appropriate.

On a construction site, some of these things can be more difficult—sometimes two-person lifting means you have to stand closer than six feet! However, there are still protections we’re seeing our customers and vendors implement.

For one, portable toilets and common areas like mobile offices are being disinfected more frequently and many jobsites are ordering extra handwashing stations to make sure people can wash their hands more frequently.

We also see a lot of safety managers recommending crew members practice social distancing as much as possible and wear a mask when it doesn’t affect the safety of the work you’re doing. We also see some sites requiring crew members to take their temperature before starting work.

The Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America put out a series of guidelines around worker safety in a post-COVID-19 world. They have social distancing recommendations specifically for construction sites. This includes a “no congregation” rule and not allowing food trucks on worksites. This may mean having safety meetings in smaller groups and asking crew members to bring their own lunch and space themselves further than six feet apart when they eat.  

It’s a good idea to check with your local regulatory agencies to find out if there are any special requirements in your area.

There will definitely be an adjustment period to these new rules. We recommend our customers use resources like these to come up with a written safety plan and communicate it to crew members. Having a written plan and following safety guidelines will go a long way toward protecting crew members and helping people feel safe being back on the jobsite.

We know there have been a lot of delays and back orders when it comes to handwashing stations, so give us a call to find out what’s available in your area and how to get more coverage on your site.