Skip to content

Keep Our Collection Specialists Safe!

A Summary of Dangerous Items Found in the Trash

We often toss our garbage into the bin without giving it much thought, assuming it will be hauled away without issue. However, our trash can sometimes contain items that pose serious risks to the safety of the dedicated individuals who collect our waste. From hazardous materials to sharp objects, it’s crucial to be mindful of what we dispose of in order to keep our collection specialists safe.

Hazardous Materials

Household cleaners, paint cans, batteries, and even electronics can contain hazardous chemicals that are harmful to both the environment and the health of trash collectors. These items can leak or release toxic fumes, putting collection workers at risk. To prevent this, please take all hazardous waste directly to your nearest waste collection facility, as Acorn Waste does not remove hazardous waste.

Sharps and Needles

Improperly discarded needles, syringes, and other sharp objects can cause serious injuries to trash collectors. It’s essential to place these items in puncture-proof containers or medical waste disposal containers before throwing them away. This precaution not only protects collectors but also prevents the spread of diseases. Read our previous post “How to Safely Dispose of Sharp Items.”

Broken Glass and Fragile Items

Glass shards, broken ceramics, and other sharp fragments can cause cuts and injuries to waste collection workers. Always wrap these items in thick layers of newspaper or cloth before putting them in the trash. Better yet, if possible, consider recycling glass and donating fragile items to thrift stores instead. Waste workers can’t see through opaque bags leaving hands and legs vulnerable to lacerations and punctures.

Heavy and Bulky Objects

Overweight trash bags or bins filled with heavy items can strain the backs and muscles of garbage collectors, leading to injuries. To avoid this, distribute the weight evenly among multiple bags or containers, and adhere to weight limits set by your waste management provider. Usually, a maximum weight of 12 kilograms (25 pounds) per garbage bag or can.

Flammable Materials

Flammable liquids, like gasoline or propane tanks, can cause fires or explosions in the back of trash collection trucks if they come into contact with heat or sparks. Dispose of these materials responsibly by taking them to appropriate disposal facilities. Even propane cylinders that feel empty can still cause an explosion. Read more about propane in our post “Hazardous Waste.”

A Few Safety Tips for Residents

  • Remove hazardous waste from regular trash and recyclables.
  • Always use proper containers for sharp objects and dispose of them safely.
  • Wrap breakable items securely to prevent injuries.
  • Be mindful of weight limits and distribute weight evenly.
  • Educate yourself about local waste disposal guidelines and follow them.

Everyone Deserves a Safe Work Environment

By being more mindful of what we toss into our trash, we can significantly contribute to the safety and well-being of trash collectors. Implementing responsible disposal practices, adhering to waste management guidelines, and spreading awareness about potential hazards can help us create a safer environment for everyone involved in the waste collection process. After all, the individuals who pick up our trash day after day deserve a safe working environment just as much as anyone else.