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Receptacles As Site Amenities

March 07, 2012
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Beyond merely collecting unwanted detritus, the positioning of waste and recycling receptacles can yield positive effects for buildings and facilities of all kinds.

Conveniently placed and properly labeled waste and recycling containers — one container for every 50 linear feet is the standard for arenas and public venues — surely help to control litter and eliminate stray waste, resulting in a cleaner environment.

This can improve the mood and atmosphere of the facility — creating a sense of pride that would be absent in a trashy, littered environment.

Likewise, the positioning of recycling containers simplifies the collection of cans, bottles, paper and more — making it easier than ever to be "green" at work.

Indeed, many younger workers have grown up with recycling and see it as a social commitment rather than a workplace "nice-to-do."

Now, with the advent of decorative and customizable containers, facility and sanitation managers can have the best of both worlds: Functional receptacles that serve their purpose while meshing nicely within the interior or exterior image of the facility.

An Inside Job

Receptacles for interior usage are available in many styles to suit particular tastes and match existing architecture styles and décor.

Within the particular styles, there are varieties and sizes of receptacles designed to fit within all areas of a facility.

While a larger receptacle is required for high-traffic common areas, this same size container would overwhelm a smaller space, drawing unwanted attention to itself by virtue of its over-large size.

Conversely, a container that would fit nicely within arena luxury boxes and executive offices would look diminutive in a common area; worse, it would be insufficient for the volume, requiring constant servicing to avoid unsightly overflow.

Properly sized containers reduce servicing labor costs — a significant facility management consideration.

Some manufacturers provide complete families of waste and recycling receptacles with sizes and styles for virtually every area within a facility.

This continuity ensures that the décor is carried through on every floor, even into the outside areas such as parking lots, common areas, entryways, streetscapes and more.

Pre-matched collections also save time in selection, while the variety of options available for lids and openings ensure that any desired combination can be accommodated.

That means that, in common areas, for instance, a receptacle might include an ash-top for collection of cigarette butts and ashes, while a restroom receptacle might feature a hands-free design.

In addition to looking good by matching the color scheme of the facility and incorporating desired features, receptacles are increasingly being designed with serviceability in mind.

Larger volume containers, for example, extend the service interval while eliminating spillover and the resulting mess.

Easy-access features, such as liners and access doors on rollers rather than hinges, are also becoming more popular.

Smudge-resistant, texturized paints and finishes are also available to extend the maintenance interval, reducing the time spent wiping down the containers — a further cost constraint measure.

Custom containers that include corporate, university or sports team logos and color schemes are becoming the norm for their ability to instill team spirit and help build upon a brand, community or campus.

Containers that can be customized by event are also available.

These include a slot that holds custom signage, which can be changed as frequently as desired, allowing universities, for example, to promote upcoming events to be held at their arenas.

This custom signage feature can also be used for advertising revenue generation — in essence, creating an advertisement space to promote vendor partners or local businesses.

Clearly, waste and recycling is about more than just collecting the trash. Addressing the desire for both waste and recycling containers that work together, some manufacturers provide containers that can be paired to serve as waste and recycling stations.

Selected from the same families for continuity of design, these side-by-side receptacles are visually appealing and functional.

In addition to coloring — many recycling programs opt for "recycling blue" or green colors — these receptacles are easy to identify because they are adorned with recycling stickers and logos, as well as the recycling streams accepted.

Considerations For Outdoor Environments

Design is vital for containers destined for outdoor usage, with some added considerations.

Imagine an outdoor setting with a contemporary look and architecture.

While waste and recycling containers with a contemporary design would complement this look, traditional style receptacles would call attention to themselves because they are out of place.

Even within the overall look of the cans, there are materials of construction to consider.

Metal slatted containers are available in differing styles from traditional to more elaborate and decorative.

The metal slat construction makes these containers resistant to graffiti, an additional concern when containers are to be used outside.

Most manufacturers also include items like leveling feet in case the surface where the units are to be deployed is not flat.

An anchor kit and a lid cable are also provided as a vandalism deterrent and to keep the units intact in the event of extreme weather.

Some manufacturers of metal slatted containers also offer other site amenities of like construction — including backless and backed benches, and planters — ensuring that the common look can be carried through to other site amenities.

In addition to how the receptacles look, there are considerations for how well the receptacles function in the harsher outdoor environment.

Ease of servicing is a major concern; for high-moisture environments — including pools, water parks and beaches — materials of construction are also important.

Here, an expanded metal container with hot dipped galvanized construction may well be the best choice given its longevity.

For containers placed on concrete in stadiums and arenas, protective coatings are available, which encapsulate the metal base.

This sealing effect serves to protect the concrete over the long service life of the container.

More Than A Repository

Waste and recycling containers have come a long way since Ralph Kramden''s heyday.

In addition to providing a basic necessity, today''s manufacturers provide receptacles with something for every interest.

The aesthetically pleasing styles mesh well with architecture and color schemes.

Metal receptacles provide a long service life and enduring value, allowing them to be amortized over a longer period.

Features allowing for easy servicing reduce the time spent emptying and cleaning the containers, so ongoing costs are kept in check as well.

While these factors are important to the owners of the receptacles and to the facilities they are placed within, from a user''s perspective, the waste and recycling containers may be rarely noticed.

This, when you think about it, is actually a good sign because it means that they are properly sized and enhance the image — serving as site amenities rather than merely a repository for trash and dining debris.

Jim Wahl is the founder and president of Wahl Marketing Communications of Cincinnati. He can be reached directly at (513) 561-2002 or Wahl represents Witt Industries Inc., a manufacturer of high-quality indoor and outdoor waste and recycling receptacles. More information about Witt can be obtained by contacting President Tom Dorger at (800) 543-7417 or or by visiting

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