12 Garbage Can Etiquette Tips

Garbage Can Etiquette
Sort out your plastics, cardboard, glass, and aluminum waste properly. Store your bins safely and take them out on the correct day. Contact a local landfill or a hazardous waste company to dispose of hazardous waste properly. Clean out your trash bins at least twice a month to avoid bacteria.

1. Know When Garbage Day Is

garbage collector putting the garbage in truck
Garbage collector putting the garbage in truck

Rather than guessing the day and then inevitably missing trash day, causing your trash to pile up, make sure to check the trash pickup schedule so you know just when to take your trash out.

Knowing the pickup schedule is also important for your nextdoor neighbors, as they don’t want to see your trash bin out by the road all week long.

If you live in a neighborhood, then be sure to check with your neighbors or do an internet search for your trash schedule by county. You can also reach out to your municipality for guidance.

2. Sort It Out

When throwing out your garbage, you should always sort it first. You should always sort out yard waste, organics, and any hazardous materials as well. Many homes have separate bins for yard waste. As far as hazardous materials, you should always dispose of them properly and safely.

Placing cardboard boxes, aluminum cans, and glass in your household trash isn’t recommended. These materials should be placed in the recycling bin. If you sort your trash, more waste will be recycled later, leaving less waste for the landfill. This makes waste processing more efficient and effective.

Separating organic waste will reduce the risk of critters such as raccoons breaking into your trash containers and making a huge mess. It can be beneficial to start composting food waste, which can be used in your garden.

3. Bag It Up

black garbage bags filled for takeaway
Garbage bags filled for takeaway

This not only prevents large messes but it makes it much easier for waste collection as well. If you use the wrong-sized trash bags or bags that easily tear, you will end up with a mess all over your front yard. Try to avoid placing bulky items in garbage bags because they will probably rip.

Not having to worry about the bag breaking or overflowing leaves you with peace of mind.

4. Keep It Clean

Clean trash cans eliminate odors and keep your house free from critters and insects. If your garbage cans become dirty and you do not regularly clean them out, you are much more likely to have a pest problem on your hands.

It is simple to clean out your garbage cans. Simply remove the trash and spray it down. Once it has been rinsed out, use a sanitizing spray to wipe it down. Give it one more rinse and then let it dry out.

Generally speaking, you should aim to clean them out twice a month, though if you notice it’s beginning to smell or see any gunk, you can clean it more often.

5. Garbage Can Placement

If you live in an area providing dumpsters, taking out your trash is a breeze. However, if you live somewhere a garbage truck comes by and takes the trash from in front of your home, placing your trash cans in the right spot is important.

Homeowners need to know where to place their garbage receptacles so that they are not in the way and not an eye soar for neighbors. The best place for your garbage can is curbside or on the grass no more than 2-3 feet from the road.

Make sure to avoid placing it in front of anyone’s mailbox, though. You also want to avoid blocking any neighbor’s driveway. Be courteous when placing your garbage cans.

6. Store Your Garbage Cans

After garbage day, it is important to promptly return your garbage bins to their proper place. In many neighborhoods, you can be fined for leaving your trash bins out for too long. Not only is it ugly to look at, but it can sometimes get in the way of traffic.

You should always put your garbage cans in a proper location where they are safe, out of the way, and somewhere the next-door neighbors won’t be bothered.

7. Avoid Overflow

Overflowing dumpsters or trashcans are breeding grounds for bacteria and nasty germs.

To avoid overfilling your trash can, avoid dumping bulky items at home. If you have something large to dispose of, bring it to a larger dumpster or take it to the landfill yourself.

Another way to avoid overfilling your garbage cans is by making sure you take out your trash on trash day. When you miss trash pick-up day, your trash will begin piling up and you could end up with a big problem on your hands.

8. Dipose of Hazardous Materials Properly

Disposing of hazardous waste is imperative for a clean and safe living environment. You should never dispose of it in a household trash can. There are several ways to properly treat hazardous waste depending on the actual material of the waste, including:

  • Chemical treatment
  • Biological treatment
  • Thermal treatment
  • Physical treatment

The first three treatments listed are ways to transform the waste at a molecular level, while the last results in waste concentration and/or volume decrease.

To ensure you are properly disposing of hazardous materials, you may need to contact your local landfill and see if they will take it or if they know where you can bring it to have it taken care of.

In some cases, you will need to bring your waste to a specific location and pay a certain amount of money to have the waste properly disposed of. This may be in a landfill, or it may involve underground disposal.

9. Proper Pet Waste Disposal

Disposing of your pet’s waste properly is important for you, your family, and your neighbors. Though collecting your pet’s waste in a baggy and tossing it in the trash may seem like the easiest way to go about it, it may not be the greenest.

Some other ways to dispose of your animal’s waste include:

  • Composting it
  • Flushing it down the toilet
  • Burying it

You may also like: 14 Dog Park Etiquette Tips

10. Disposing of Large, Bulky Items

If you are disposing of large items such as furniture or appliances, sitting them out by the road is not the best way to go about it. First of all, it is an eyesore for your neighbors. Secondly, many garbage trucks will not pick up the large item, so it will sit there.

Large, bulky items must be disposed of properly, but this can vary from city to city, so you should always check and follow local regulations for large item disposal. You can contact your municipality to find this out.

Some ways to dispose of large items include hauling them to a certain landfill or calling a company to ha them off.

11. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Recycling reduces the amount of waste piled up in landfills and is exponentially better for our environment than throwing all waste in the trash can. Many cities provide recycling bins for your house, but it is your job to sort out the recycling and properly dispose of it.

Most cities collect glass, paper, plastic, cardboard, and aluminum, but you should check with your local recycling plant to make sure. Also, be sure to wash out anything that contained food or liquid before recycling it so as not to attract critters and pests.

In some places, you may have to take your own recycling to the plant. Even though this is an extra step, the environmental benefits outweigh the negatives of going out of your way.

12. Work Together

Getting your community involved in garbage etiquette can be very beneficial to everyone. Not only should everyone be educated on proper garbage can etiquette, but hosting community clean-ups and encouraging responsible garbage disposal is important.

You can host a neighborhood clean-up or even hold a meeting to discuss the importance of keeping the neighborhood clean and eliminating trash. Also, encourage your neighbors to work together to recycle what you can. This will keep your neighborhood safe, clean, and looking nice.

Margaret Dunn

Margaret is a passionate writer based in Costa Rica, though she was raised in the southeastern US. Being from the South, good manners and proper etiquette were ingrained in her from a young age and she has always been fascinated with etiquette in different settings and places. When she is not writing, you can find her exercising, reading, or spending time with her family at the beach.

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