Trash Dumpsters: Four Mistakes Restaurant Owners Make That Encourage Pests

Studies suggest that a single restaurant can produce an average of 150,000 pounds of garbage per year, so dumpsters are a common sight outside most eateries. Using a dumpster is an effective way to manage trash from your business, but if you don't use these devices properly, you may find yourself having to deal with unwanted pests and vermin. If you're experiencing unwanted dumpster visitors outside your restaurant, ask yourself if you're making one or more of the following mistakes.

1. Infrequent collections

You need to make sure your supplier exchanges or empties your dumpster as often as the amount of waste you generate necessitates. While a weekly or fortnightly collection may help you keep the bills down, it's no good if the waste overflows by the time somebody empties the dumpster. Overflowing waste makes it difficult to shut the lid on your dumpster. In turn, vermin will quickly work out that there are tasty treats in your waste.

Keep an eye on the amount of waste in your dumpster, and make sure you routinely change your collection date if trash piles up. Even if you have a regular collection on the same day(s) of the week, consider a one-off collection if you create an unusual amount of trash.

2. Uncontrolled bushes and shrubs

Bushes, trees, and shrubs near your premises can help your restaurant look more attractive, especially if you have outside dining or drinking areas. Nonetheless, overgrown trees and shrubs near your dumpsters can make it easier for vermin and pests to get in your dumpster. For example, a low-hanging branch near the dumpster is a useful access route for mice and even larger mammals like raccoons.

Clear all vegetation away from your dumpsters so marauding pests don't have an easy way to get into them. What's more, surfaces that are easy to clean with a pressure washer are less likely to attract vermin, so get rid of grassy areas directly around your dumpster that can house insects and other pests and replace them with concrete or asphalt.

3. No nearby drainage

It's relatively easy to spill liquids when placing food containers in your dumpster, but spillages aren't the only liquid waste you need to get rid of. When you routinely clean the ground underneath a dumpster, you need to make sure the waste water has somewhere to go.

Place the dumpster near a sewer drain so you can easily brush or pressure wash liquid waste away. If there's no drainage, liquids can build up on the ground underneath the dumpster. In turn, these stagnant liquids can attract pests. They're also likely to stink!

4. Poor/limited policing

Your dumpster isn't going to look after itself, so you need to make sure every member of staff working in the restaurant knows how to properly dispose of waste. If you don't regularly check the area around the dumpster, you won't spot the early signs of bad habits that may later attract pests.

Things to look out for when policing your dumpster include these:

  • Staff members leaving dumpster lids open and/or failing to secure loose lids with bungee cords or similar items.

  • Loose garbage in the dumpster. Where possible, staff members should secure food waste in plastic bags before placing them in the receptacle.

  • Trash left around the dumpster. If there's no room in the dumpster, schedule another collection. If there's plenty of room, find out who your lazy employees are.

  • Smelly dumpsters. Bad smells indicate rotting food waste that can attract a variety of pests, but the smell will only linger if staff members don't clean the dumpster when it gets dirty.

Don't let maintenance problems go unresolved, either. Make sure staff members know who they should report damaged dumpsters to. Your supplier can't fix problems that he or she doesn't know about, after all!

Dumpsters are an important part of a restaurant's waste management cycle. Talk to your dumpster rental supplier for more information and advice about how you can keep pests away.