Now that consumers are spending more time outside this summer, many business owners and community leaders are focused on improving their public outdoor spaces. One of the most effective ways to keep your outdoor space clean and litter-free is to implement outdoor trash cans. However, you can’t just use any old trash receptacle outdoors. Keep reading to learn how to properly utilize outdoor trash cans in public spaces and which types of receptacles to choose.

Pick a Weather-Resistant Material

The first step to properly utilizing your outdoor trash cans is to pick the right type of material for your environment. When it comes to outdoor garbage cans, this usually means selecting a bin material that is durable and resistant to the most extreme weather conditions in your area. There are many material options available for outdoor use, including plastic, metal, composite, stone, and more. Plastic garbage cans are traditionally used residentially, although this material might not be sturdy enough for public use. Metal garbage cans, such as stainless steel receptacles, are ideal for public use thanks to their sturdiness and weight, which helps them stand up to strong winds and other weather conditions. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each material before choosing your public trash cans.

Select Your Trash Can Size

The next most important factor when selecting a public outdoor trash can is the size of the receptacle. To avoid overflow and accidentally creating a littering issue, it’s important to choose a trash receptacle large enough to accommodate your outdoor space and the anticipated number of patrons. On the other hand, you don’t want to place a large trash can in a low-traffic area, or it could become an eyesore. Don’t install a garbage can that is too large for your space, either. Consider how many people might use your garbage cans daily, how often you would be able to empty them, and how much space you have available. Examining each of these factors can help you determine whether you need a small (20–30 gallon), medium (40–60 gallon), or large (65–90 gallon) garbage can.

Choose the Number of Trash Cans

You might not need to choose garbage receptacles that are on the larger side if you plan to space out several garbage cans around your outdoor area. In fact, this is the best practice to prevent littering and encourage proper recycling and waste management habits. The likelihood of your patrons littering and contaminating your recyclables will increase the further they must go to find a garbage can. Make sure your garbage cans are easy to locate, and provide an adequate number of them throughout your outdoor property or venue. The number of trash cans you need will depend on the property size; for example, an outdoor park or venue will require many more receptacles than the space outside a storefront.

Decide Where To Place Outdoor Trash Cans

Where you place your outdoor trash cans is just as important as their size and the number you have available. You could have the perfect number of trash cans, but if they’re located in the wrong areas, they won’t be any more effective. The most prominent place to start is high-traffic areas, where garbage cans are likely to fill up faster. Set up several garbage cans in those high-traffic areas so the trash is spread equally amongst several receptacles. While you don’t need quite as many trash cans in more remote areas of your property, such as hiking trails, you should still place the occasional garbage can in these spaces. If patrons don’t see any waste disposal options in the more remote areas, they may turn to littering.

Proximity of Receptacles

Pay special attention to the proximity of your trash cans and recycling bins. If your business or organization participates in recycling, always position a recycling bin next to or near your garbage cans. Otherwise, you could end up with recycling contamination when consumers throw their garbage in recycling bins and vice versa. As previously mentioned, try to keep the distance between garbage cans to a minimum if you want to crack down on littering.

Empty Trash Cans Regularly

Your outdoor trash and recycling receptacles won’t be of much use if they’re constantly overflowing with rubbish. If you’re experiencing this issue, consider emptying your garbage cans regularly throughout the week or scheduling your trash pickups more frequently. If you’re still experiencing trash can overflow despite more frequent emptying, this is a clear sign you need to upgrade your bin size or add more bins to the area.

Mark Bins and Use Clear Prompts

Another way to prevent recycling contamination and littering is to clearly differentiate between your garbage and recycling bins. Labeling and color-coding your waste and recycling receptacles can have a significant impact on decreasing contamination between trash and recycling. Along with labeling, you could also choose garbage and recycling receptacles that feature their respective easily recognized imagery to assist patrons and guests who might not be fluent in the native language.

Preserve Your Curb Appeal

If you’re concerned that adding outdoor garbage cans to your property or venue will ruin your aesthetic value and curb appeal, try the following tips to restore balance. You can always choose receptacle colors that match your business or organization’s branding so they fit right in alongside other installations. Another option is to invest in garbage can enclosures that disguise your garbage cans behind a wall, fence, or small shed. But keep in mind that many commercial outdoor trash cans are designed with appearance in mind. Overall, a sleek garbage receptacle will look much better on your curb than a pile of litter would.