How to Stop Your Customers from Using Your Dumpsters

Problems Associated with Unauthorized Dumpster Use

As a storage business with open dumpsters on your sites, it may be difficult to prevent your customers from using your dumpsters when they empty out their units. The most pressing concern with unauthorized trash dumping is that the space you need in the dumpster for your own trash will be occupied by the trash of others.

You may also have to deal with the financial consequences of unauthorized trash dumping. For instance, if lots of your customers start dumping their trash into your dumpster, then your bills may go up because the container is considered overloaded or the excess weight of their trash may exceed the designated weight limit – or may even cause you to require extra pickups.

Customers may dump hazardous waste or special waste that’s not suitable for general waste, including materials like paint and aerosols. This could lead to your business incurring fines and extra fees for the waste hauler to handle this kind of trash.

The good news is there are many steps that you can take to help prevent others from dumping their trash into your dumpster without your consent…

Lock Your Container

Ask your waste management company about fitting locks, manual lock bars or gravity lock bars for extra security. You’ll find that this should be sufficient to prevent most of your customers from slinging their waste into your dumpsters. If you fit the locks yourselves, make sure that your hauler has been provided with a set of keys or the combination code, so that they don’t have issues emptying the waste when they come to service your site.

Unfortunately, some storage businesses find that even with dumpster locks, there are still some stubborn customers who will find a way to break through and get rid of their trash on your account. That’s why we recommend combining dumpster locks with other security strategies.

Check Your Containers Daily

Instruct staff to note unexpected debris or oversized items and report it to you immediately. Although this doesn’t prevent the unauthorized usage, it will help you to work out who might be responsible, especially if there are names or labels on some of the items.

If one of your sites thinks they have a serious problem, then checking the bins at more regular intervals throughout the day (and night, if they are 24/7 operations) will enable site managers to narrow the times down, which can then be cross referenced with the list of customers who were on the premises at that time.

Place your Dumpsters in a Well-Lit Area

Good lighting is an effective deterrent for rule breakers. It’s one thing to sneakily load up a dumpster when it’s in the dark and they think no one is looking, but another to do it when there’s a big security light shining directly on it.

It’s unlikely that lighting alone will solve your problems, but again it’s a useful component of your prevention strategy. If your sites are in managed premises, you might not have the ability to install security lights but read on for some other recommendations.

Place a Warning Sign

Place some large signs around your site and by the dumpsters to notify your customers that your dumpster is for private use only and violators will be prosecuted. Even if your sites are on managed premises, this is a simple technique you can use to reduce the temptation for many of your customers.

Install a Security Camera

If you expect unauthorized dumping, consider utilizing surveillance cameras to catch the culprits. If you already have security cameras fitted on site, then you might just need to move the position of one of them, or install an extra one, so that it covers your waste storage area. Alternately, you could move your storage area to somewhere that is already in the view of an existing camera.

If sites are running on managed premises, then they may be able to speak to the premises owner about moving the dumpsters to an area that’s in the view of one of their cameras.

Alternatively, if you don’t have the budget or authorization to fit the cameras you need, you could place “dummy” cameras in suitable locations and put up some signs warning of the use of cameras.

Build an Enclosure

Many storage sites find that an effective long-term solution for reducing unauthorized dumpster usage is to house them in a secure corral with high fences and a locked gate. Just make sure to unlock your enclosure prior to waste collection times or provide your hauler with keys and access codes so that the extra security doesn’t lead to missed collections.

Unfortunately, this is another strategy that probably won’t be possible for sites that run on managed premises. If this is the case for some of your locations, there is one other solution that our account managers have recommended for customers that are having serious problems with unauthorized dumpster usage.

Lock Your Dumpsters Away in a Vacant Storage Unit

Some locations that have become fed up with unauthorized trash dumping get resourceful, and use the one thing that storage sites have easy access to: a vacant storage unit. Not only are the dumpsters then out of the sight of prospective trash tippers, but they’re also protected under lock and key.

The only issue here is making sure that this strategy doesn’t prevent your waste haulers from being able to access the dumpsters. If you need to take this step, you might need to speak with your waste management provider and get them to exchange larger dumpsters for smaller containers on wheels.

NWA Delivers Solutions Tailored to the Storage Industry

National Waste Associates (NWA) has decades of experience creating tailored waste management services for the storage sector.

Our expert account managers will work directly with your individual sites to identify the combination of security features that will prevent unauthorized dumpster usage. We’ll then liaise between the sites and the haulers to make sure that these additional layers of security don’t result in missed collections, ensuring haulers have up-to-date site access times, codes and keys to service the bins. This attentive account management service keeps your waste costs down and your sites safe and secure.

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