When it comes to renting a dumpster, there are a lot of different factors to consider. The big ones for most customers are about budget and size. What are the dumpster rental prices and how much capacity do the dumpsters provide? The primary goal in these cases is to get the most dumpster space possible for the lowest rental rates.
Of course, pricing isn’t everything, and neither is size. For one thing, a bigger dumpster isn’t always better. You don’t want to end up paying for space you don’t use! For another thing, it’s always worth sparing a thought or two for the environmental sustainability of the service you are using. “Going green” might not seem like a realistic option when you are talking about garbage, but there are certainly dumpster rental services that are more environmentally friendly than others. The big question is, can you get a green-friendly dumpster rental without paying extra?
How Dumpster Rental Companies Can “Go Green”
Before we get into any big debates about the dumpster rental prices, let’s consider green-friendly trends within the dumpster rental industry. After all, if you are going to pay extra (or, perhaps, the same amount) for a greener dumpster rental service, you’ll want to know what you are getting in return.
Typically, we think of dumpster rental companies as on-demand trash services. At your home or your office, you probably already have a trash service that picks up your garbage and hauls it away on a weekly basis. This trash ends up at the nearest dump or landfill. Traditionally, dumpster rental companies have hauled your junk off to similar destinations. There are a few problems with this way of doing things.
First off, for convenience’s sake, many customers do not rent separate dumpsters for trash and recycling. If you are doing a big spring-cleaning project or preparing to move your business across town to a new office location, your goal is probably to get the job done as quickly and painlessly as possible. You don’t want to go through the process of sorting items out and determining what you can or cannot recycle. Instead, you want to toss everything in the same bin and wash your hands of it all. As a result, a lot of items end up in a landfill instead of being recycled as they should be.
Secondly, there are items that either shouldn’t be put in a dumpster or can’t be put in a dumpster, depending on the service you choose. Items like mattresses and electronic waste can cause considerable environmental and health concerns if not disposed of properly. E-waste, for instance, is loaded with lead, chromium, and other harmful materials. When computers or televisions end up in a landfill, these elements can cause dangerous chemicals to accumulate in soil, groundwater, or crops.
As mentioned above, different dumpster rental companies handle things like electronic waste in different ways. Part of the variation is due to company values. Some businesses are dedicated to “going green,” while others are less concerned about long-term environmental sustainability. Another part is legal compliance. For example, there is no federal legislation mandating recycling procedures for E-waste, but many states have passed legislation on the subject. As a result, the laws that dumpster rental companies must follow can vary depending on where you live.
The Common Garbage Sorting Solution
The most common strategy for dumpster rental companies is to require customers to sort their junk before tossing it in a bin. Some businesses have long lists of items that customers can’t put in their dumpsters, under any circumstances. Large things like TVs and appliances often land on these lists. Other companies make you rent separate bins for different types of junk. For instance, if you are renovating, you might be expected to rent one container for your construction waste (drywall, carpet, wood flooring, etc.) and another one for more conventional trash.
This type of solution is technically “green-friendly”—at least in most cases. The dumpster rental companies are requiring you to sort your junk because they don’t want to take any hazardous materials to the landfill. By having you rent out dumpsters for different purposes, they then know exactly how to handle the waste in question. A bin filled with regular garbage might go one place while a container filled with E-waste would go somewhere else.
The problem with “going green” in this fashion is that it puts a lot of the onus on the customer. The dumpster rental companies are trying to stay compliant or responsible regarding sustainability, but they are calling on their customers to do most of the work.
Unfortunately, this requirement can eliminate a lot of the “toss anything in the bin” convenience that renting a dumpster is supposed to provide. When you rent a dumpster for a big spring cleaning project, you want it to be a place for anything and everything you want to throw away. If you have four cathode ray TVs and a handful of broken kitchen appliances, you want to be able to toss them in the bin. You don’t want to have to keep them stashed in your basement for another year or figure out how to get them to the proper recycling channels.
A Better Solution: The Green Dumpster Rental Company
The greenest dumpster rental companies are starting to offer an alternative solution: in-house sorting. Instead of implementing dozens of hard-to-understand rules about which items can’t be thrown away, or what items should go in which bins, these companies allow customers to dispose of virtually anything in their standard rental bins.
These companies aren’t shirking their responsibilities for environmental care or compliance. On the contrary, they are accepting that responsibility entirely, instead of shifting it to the customers. The customer can rent a bin and throw anything into it (save hazardous waste). Appliances, electronic waste, mattresses, construction waste, standard household garbage, paper waste and other recycling: all these items and more can go into the same bin.
Instead of taking everything directly to the landfill, the green dumpster rental company delivers everything to a storage facility. Dedicated teams are then standing by to sort the waste into different categories. Some of it will end up in the nearest landfill. Other items might be pulled out and reused or donated or recycled through the proper channels.
The result of this kind of in-house sorting service is the greenest junk removal process possible. Human sorters do a terrific job at making sure that items are repurposed or recycled wherever possible, thereby reducing landfill waste. Not only does this process eliminate the risk of electronic waste or appliances leaking chemicals into the soil or groundwater, but it also slows down the (frighteningly rapid) accumulation of garbage in landfills.
A Note on Dumpster Rental Prices
So how does this kind of green service affect dumpster rental prices? The answer, of course, will vary from one business to the next. In some cases, you might pay more than you would for a less sustainable service. In other cases, you might find extremely economical rates. Since price is a product of so many other factors—from the size of the bin you choose to your location to the length of your rental—it can be difficult to determine precisely how much “going green” is affecting your rate.
Remember, though: your time is worth something, too. The convenience of being able to throw everything in the same bin beats having to sort out items or rent multiple dumpsters to get rid of different categories of junk. As a result, even when a greener dumpster rental service looks like it has higher dumpster rental prices, it will often end up costing you less in the long run.