Preventing Overflowing Garbage Bins

Humans tend to overload things. We cram dishwashers with plates, bowls, and cups. We heap laundry in the basket until it sprawls over the sides. Let’s not even mention suitcases.

Another familiar example of overloading is the garbage bin. It starts inside with bags ripping apart as we desperately try to tie them off and lift them out. In the curbside collection bin, the lid stays slightly ajar, unable to close completely. For whatever reason, there is too much trash.

While this might seem like an innocent slip in the system, overloaded disposal containers negatively affect our health, neighborhoods, and the natural world. Let’s explore how this happens, why overloading is an issue, and some practical solutions.

How Overloading Happens

It’s essential to understand how overloading happens. Otherwise, we feel powerless when trying to address the issue. It is best to prevent the problem rather than responding to the resulting symptoms. Common causes of overloaded garbage bins include:

  • Parties and Social Events – Having people over can be the week’s highlight. However, more people equals more trash. If you use disposable plates, cups, cutlery and participate in activities including arts, crafts, and gift unwrapping, you may create waste much faster than anticipated. Your average kitchen bag won’t be enough to last the night.
  • Missing a Week – It happens to all of us. Miscommunication, a night away, being just plain busy, all of these things can lead to missing the collection truck and having double the amount for the next pickup.
  • Moving – It’s a tragedy of errors, but often when we most need garbage collection, we have the least idea when it comes. Moving can generate piles of junk and boxes. At the same time, you often change the collection day, making it easier to forget which day the collection truck is coming.
  • Not Recycling – While recycling programs differ from state to state, most have separate collection systems. Even if the municipal system doesn’t, you can get a waste disposal company to pick yours up separately. As well as helping the environment, recycling reduces the stress on your other trash bin. Plastic and cardboard recycling can make a major change since milk cartons, boxes, and containers are often the most bulky items.

Why is Overloading Garbage Bins a Problem?

Good question. The answer comes in three parts:

  1. It’s bad for health – Overflowing bins attract rats and other diseases carrying vermin. It also lets the gas and spores produced from rotting food waft around your home.
  2. It looks bad – A garbage bin sitting with the lid slightly ajar isn’t a big deal. But as soon as the wind picks up and the lid flaps open, people will be picking your Butterfinger wrappers, styrofoam packaging, and plastic wrap off of the street for weeks to come.
  3. It harms the environment – Everyone knows littering is bad, but somehow overfilled garbage gets a pass because you aren’t actively putting trash into the natural system. However, any bits and bobs that spill out will most likely end up in streams and waterways, eventually making their way to the ocean where they can suffocate seabirds, poison fish, and slowly disintegrate into microplastics which end up in our food and water.

Solutions to Overfilled Garbage Bins

So we’ve established how overfilling happens. Some causes, like a lack of recycling or composting, hint at the solutions. Others, like hosting events or moving house, have less apparent fixes. We don’t want to stop inviting people over, right? Here are five practical and easy solutions to the problem of overfilled bins:

  1. Recycle: As we said, this one is a no-brainer. Recycling divides your trash into at least two disposal containers. Composting can also reduce the amount that goes into the garbage bin.
  2. Buy a wind latch: Garbage bin wind latches are simple and cheap, saving garbage from being spread far and wide during a windstorm. It also helps ensure the lid can be fully closed. Many trucks won’t collect your trash if the lid doesn’t close anyway, and this will help keep you honest.
  3. Rent a dumpster: For especially big events or apartment cleanouts, getting a trash dumpster rental will ensure your regular trash flow can keep ticking away without being inundated with the one-off flood.
  4. Work with a garbage pick-up service: If you consistently produce more trash than the city is picking up, getting in touch with a local waste pick-up service can be a huge saver.
  5. Choose garbage-free products: What we buy dictates how much trash we need to throw away. It’s easy to forget, but in a way, you’re paying not only for the chocolate bar but also for the plastic wrapping. Choosing to serve guests with reusable dishes or wrapping a present in fabric that can be reused easily are some applicable examples.

According to a Sundale Research Report, Americans use 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper every year. says we used 220 million paper plates and cups in 2020. While these can be extremely useful in the right circumstances, many alternative options exist that would keep our garbage bins from overflowing. We can easily avoid overloading since there are dumpsters to rent in every corner of the country. Can you change something about your disposal habits to keep your neighborhood healthy and clean?


Overloading in daily life, such as stuffing dishes, laundry baskets, suitcases, and garbage bins with various items, can have negative effects on health, neighborhoods, and the environment. Overloaded disposal containers may tear, cause problems with lids, and pose safety and efficiency issues. This discussion explores the problem and suggests practical solutions.

5 Overfilled Garbage Bin Solutions Infographic


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