Five Pieces of Waste Equipment You Can't Not Know About

“Right,” you may be thinking “what could possibly be so important about waste equipment? Aren’t dumpsters pretty self-explanatory? What could possibly be so important about waste equipment? ”

The waste equipment you have and how you use it is so important - one dirty little dumpster can have a huge affect your bottom line!

One of our recent clients found this out the hard way. We started working with a manufacturing company in summer of 2018. At one of their locations in South Carolina, they were paying almost $200 a month for renting their open top container. But we found them a better vendor that would only charge $50 per month. The client ended up paying about $1700 less a year for the dumpster, and $25,500 less per year for that location.

One little dumpster can mean thousands of dollars in overspending per year.

If it’s on your location, each piece of equipment in the list below is affecting your bottom line. The more you know about each of them, the more informed decisions you can make about their uses, and the more you might be able to save.

And since we know you can’t spend all day looking at waste equipment, we’ve boiled it down to the five most important ones.

So take a deep breath, hold your nose, and let’s dive into the world of waste equipment!


Did you ever take your family’s trash to the curb as a kid? You loved it, right? Or maybe you’re one of those anomalies like our CEO, Tyler Brunson, who enjoys taking out the trash as an adult! Either way, you’ve seen one of these. Their best feature? Wheels. Meaning that instead of dragging it down your never-ending driveway, all you had to do was tilt and pull. Kids the world over rejoiced.    

In the waste industry this is called a toter.

Size: Usually about 43” high, 36” deep, 96 gallon capacity

Use: Residential, multi-family units, or smaller businesses

Cost: Flat monthly fee


Dumpsters can come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors, but there are four different kinds:

  1. Front Load Dumpsters (also known as FELs)

  2. Front Load Dumpsters with Casters

  3. Rear Load Dumpsters

  4. Rear Load Dumpsters with Casters

Of all these types, the front load dumpster like the one in the video is the most popular. If you have a dumpster on your property, it’s probably this one! The front load dumpster gets picked up from - you guessed it - the rear.

Restaurants, apartment buildings, shopping centers, office complexes and convenience stores most often use dumpsters for their waste disposal.

Dumpsters with casters are used mostly in urban areas. They may be stored in one place, like the basement of a high-rise or an alley, then wheeled out to the street to be picked up.

Some fast facts:

Size: 4, 6, and 8 yard (by total cubic yardage capacity)

Use: Consistent, relatively light waste streams

Cost: Flat fee based on the size and the frequency of pick-up

Open-Top (or Roll-off)

If you’ve ever walked by a construction site, chances are that you’ve seen one of these.  

Like the dumpsters above, these come in several sizes.

Size: 20, 30, 40 yard sizes

Use: Often for construction waste, but they are also used for heavy, bulky items that won’t fit in smaller containers. These containers are perfect for hauling refuse like large pieces of wood, old furniture, or metal scraps.

Cost: There’s a flat fee per pick-up, a rental fee, and a fee based on actual weight.


Remember the trash compacter scene in Star Wars? Han Solos, Leah, Luke, and Wookie find themselves in a compacter the size of a room that gets turned on. It’s a great scene, and - spoiler alert - they survive.

Fortunately, most commercial compactors don’t ever see that much excitement.

For businesses that produce a significant volume of waste, compactors can really help reduce how much space your garbage takes up in the dumpster. (And, if you believe the gentleman above, they’re fun to use!) When your garbage takes up less space, your hauler shouldn’t have to come pick it up as often. This is a great way to reduce waste expenses.

There are two types of compactors: self-contained and breakaway. Since there are some big differences between the two, we’ve used the chart below to compare size and uses.

Compactor Chart.png

There are three fees for compactors regardless of type:

  1. Flat fee per pick-up

  2. Rental Fee

  3. Fee based on actual weight (charged by the ton)

Self-contained compactors tend to be more expensive to lease because the equipment is more expense for the hauler to purchase.

It’s worth noting that some haulers will charge the actual tonnage fee that the landfill charges to them to dispose of the waste. Other haulers will charge you more - the landfill tonnage fee and whatever else they feel like charging you as profit.


Up to your eyeballs in cardboard? You may need a baler.  A commercial baler like this one packages waste products like cardboard, newspaper, shrinkwrap, plastic, clothes, or even tires! Balers a great way to save space and money.

Size: 60 - 72”

Use: to flatten and package waste for recycling or selling.

Cost: Lease for a flat monthly rate or purchase  


Toters, dumpsters, open-tops, compactors and balers have specific uses, dimensions, and costs. When they’re used strategically and serviced appropriately, they can help you keep your waste expenses to a minimum. Now that you’re familiar with each type you understand how they are used at your location - and maybe even have some ideas about how new equipment could save time and resources.

Want to learn more about how to evaluate whether your waste equipment is really adequate for your needs? Reach out to Emily Clemens, our wonderful sales director, for more information.