Tips & Tricks for Trashing

Steve Hanson

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Trashing plays an important role in maintaining a high level appearance in an office building. Indeed, one of the first things a visitor to an office will notice is a full or overflowing trash can. As well as presenting an unsightly appearance, waste material that is allowed to accumulate may become a safety issue.

Full cans can become a fire hazard and overflowing materials are a common cause of accidents, such as falls. Waste baskets can also contain partially eaten sandwiches, half empty soda cans and other materials that can cause infection or foul odors. Prompt removal of waste material and cleaning of the cans will help to eliminate these problems.

For prompt and efficient trash removal, make sure you have the proper equipment: A brute, large sized liners (45 to 60 gallon) for the brute; medium (20 to 30 gallon) and small (10 to 15 gallon) liners for the trash cans you are emptying; and cloth and disinfectant so you can clean any cans that need it.

Before beginning, make sure you know where to start and where to finish. The easiest and most effective path should be chosen. It is generally best to proceed in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction as you work your way around the room. Empty trash cans, pencil sharpeners and pick up obvious waste on the floor as you work your way around the room.

Push the brute as close to the trash can as possible. This will also save time. When bending to pick up the trash can, pick up any litter around it. Then to actually empty the can, turn it over and as far down inside the brute as possible. This will reduce flying dust, ashes or small bits of paper. Hold the can in one hand and to dislodge any stuck papers, tap it on the side or bottom with your hand.

Before returning the can to its place, check to see if there are spots on the can and wipe it down if necessary. If you see or smell food products change the can's liner. Place an extra liner in the bottom of the trash can, then put the fresh liner in the can and tie a knot in one end of the liner so it fits tightly over the can. Always return the can to its previous location.

Do not over fill the brute. Tie it with a knot when it is two-thirds full. Dispose of the filled liners in the provided dumpsters or set outside the door for later removal. If you must leave filled trash bags inside until they can be taken out to the dumpster, put them on a tarp to protect the flooring.

If you suspect an item has been accidentally tossed into a trash can and not meant for removal, remove the item and leave a note asking if it is indeed trash. Any boxes in rooms or halls should not be removed unless they are marked as trash. It is always better to be safe than sorry!

Remember, there is almost nothing more unsightly than an overflowing trash can. Follow these tips to make your trashing more efficient and to maintain a high appearance standard in your office buildings.

Steve Hanson is co-founding member of The Janitorial Store (TM), an online community for owners and managers of cleaning companies who want to build a more profitable and successful cleaning business. For more on proper cleaning techniques check out our Cleaning to Perfection Training Program. Sign up for Trash Talk: Tip of the Week at and receive a Free Gift!


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