Debunking the five most common myths about trash and recycling carts in the waste industry.

Don Groseclose


Big Foot. Mermaids. The five second rule. There are many myths and misconceptions out there in the world, but what about in the waste industry? This article will debunk the five most common myths about trash and recycling carts. Still believe in Big Foot? That’s ok—hopefully, by the time you have finished reading this we can convince you that your carts can be not only affordable and useful but also available with multi-color graphics.


Myth #1: Thicker is Better

Waste haulers use a variety of equipment to interface with cart products. Let’s face it, in both semi- and fully-automated lifting environments, carts have to absorb a great deal of stress. The properties of plastic can either be described as ductile (flexible) or brittle (stiff) and achieving the appropriate balance is quite complicated. However there are some design attributes that can affect those two competing conditions, one of which is the wall thickness of a two-wheeled trash or recycling cart. Because a thicker wall increases the stiffness, it inherently reduces flexibility. Ideally carts are engineered with the appropriate balance of stiffness and flexibility to give the product the best of both worlds. The result is a thinner walled cart that is able to flex when it is stressed instead of cracking.


Myth #2: Carts Can Only Be Branded in White Foil

Unfortunately, many haulers and municipalities believe they only have one choice when it comes to how their company logo or city seal gets imprinted onto the side of their waste containers—hot stamping with white foil. This stops now. Not only has the standard of graphic design evolved over the years, branding options for your containers have evolved as well. Recently introduced to the waste industry over the past couple years, multi-color polyethylene-fused graphics are now available as an option for waste container branding. These multi-color graphics offer many benefits to the hauler including sharp, detailed design as well as a long-lasting, fully recyclable graphic. So no longer do haulers have to settle for simple white branding when their company logos or city seals can be multi-colored.


Myth #3: My Customers/Citizens Won’t Use a Recycling Cart

You’ve heard it before … “If you build it, they will come.” Switching from a bin to a two-wheel roll-out cart provides citizens with more convenience, resulting in the increased recovery of material as well as many costs savings. Some cities even provide incentive programs to reward citizens for recycling participation that results in waste diversion.


Let’s first talk convenience. The large size of the roll-out cart accommodates bulky materials while the cart’s lid protects the materials inside and keeps them contained. The wheels and handle provide an easy trip to the curb on collection day too. Now think about the increased recovery. People care about mother earth and research has shown that recycling collection programs using carts can recover up to 450 pounds per household per year.


There are also recycling incentive programs that can be developed to further encourage adoption of recycling carts. Users can register online and earn points for recycling properly. Points are then cashed in for rewards at local retailers, restaurants, etc.e cashed in for rewards at local retailers, restaurants, etc. for recycling particiaption.


Myth #4: I Can’t Afford to Purchase Carts for My Customers/Citizens

Nonprofit organizations like The Recycling Partnership offer funding opportunities to counties, municipalities and solid waste authorities that are looking to improve their residential curbside recycling infrastructure. Grants are awarded to carefully selected applicants to help fund cart procurement, education and outreach programs.


Another alternative solution is using your trash or recycling cart as an advertising piece. Specialty advertising lids can be purchased that feature advertisements for local businesses and provide a portion of advertising revenue to be donated to the participating municipality—offsetting the costs of purchasing the cart.


Myth #5: Carts Will Increase My Overall Costs

When investing in a carted fleet for your waste collection program, there are many ways to find cost savings. For example, let’s talk safety. When switching to a fully-automated carted collection system, your employees spend more time in the truck instead of at risk bending and lifting loose bags or bins on the street. Overall employees can work safer and worker’s compensation risks can be lowered.


Let’s not forget about efficiency. Depending upon your size of container, carts can hold additional capacity. This translates to fewer pickups and lowers not only your labor costs but also your fuel costs. When it comes to waste and recycling carts—you have options.


Don Groseclose is Vice President of Sales for Otto Environmental Systems North America, Inc. (Charlotte, NC), a full-service solutions company specializing in products and services for the waste and recycling industry. For more information on Otto’s waste and recycling cart and container options for residential and commercial containers call (800) 795-6886, e-mail [email protected] or visit