Is there such a thing as the perfect trash and recycling bins? Well I guess that all depends on your use and the complex science of waste management solutions in public spaces. Fortunately it isn't as complex as you might think. The most critical component is the selection of the most ideal size of trash and reycling containers for the area. In this blog post we will explore some the factors that will influence the selection of the ideal size and provide you with some helpful tips on how to choose the best options for your needs.
Most of our case studies involve the hospitality industry so we will look at hotels in particular and their needs. If we look around a hotel you will see a traffic pattern that develops from one zone of the property to the next. They include lobby areas, pool decks, elevator lobbies etc. In some cases there will be food service that will have their own unique requirements but for most uses the volume of waste is moderate to low. A rule of thumb to determine the volume of waste is to calculate the number of people who are in the space and the amount of time they will spend there. For example if guests are passing though a lobby heading to their room then the volume might be quite low but if they are spending the day pool side then the volume might be higher.
Another factor to add to the equation is what type of waste will be discarded. For example if we are looking at an exterior lobby area most guests are coming and going and might only be by the front door for a brief period of time, as a result the gallon capacity would be much smaller than a food court. Another zone that needs a smaller capacity container would be an elevator area for each floor. Different states have requirements when it comes to recycling so it is good to keep in mind local laws when selecting a container, some guests will chose not to discard a bottle in a single stream container and will opt to place their bottle on top of the trash container or beside it, this is a scenario you might want to avoid by providing a trash and reycle container that is dual stream.
Frequency of collection is a critical part of the equation. A public high traffic space can potentially generate a lot of waste you will want to insure that the containers are sized apporpriately to carry the capacity between the frequency of collection.
In conclusion, there really is no "one size fits all answer", to this question. If you take into account all of the factors mentioned above you will be able to make an educated decision. For most hospitality applications a 10 to 20 gallon capacity for low volume zones and 20 to 30 gallons or larger for high traffic areas will be appropriate. Of course the aesthetics of the trash bin is critical, a simple modern design that blends in with the design scheme will complement and not distract.