Most people in America will have no greater than 2 degrees of separation to a dumpster rental in their lives. It shouldn’t matter that this fact cannot be found in any public document, because all I had to do to make it up was use common sense. If you question my logic, ask yourself whether you apply to any of the following: construction worker or overseer, undertake a demolition or renovation project of any sort, require house or yard cleanup efforts, or need large trash removal from spring cleaning or a move. Chances are, you will directly order a dumpster rental, or hire a contractor that will. Since this 2nd degree association casts a large net, there is also a very strong chance that those involved with dumpster rentals have no idea how complex the rental process can be. The reason for this column today, is due to a tragic example of what can happen when the rules and regulations of renting a dumpster are not followed (or known).

Dumpster on a Busy City Street

The Dumpster on this busy street is likely impossible to see at night, and does not appear to comply with permitting rules and regulations

Half of the people involved in renting have no idea how a dumpster rental works. The first thing to keep in mind is that a roll off dumpster, which is the most commonly rented, is a large piece of equipment that is delivered by an even larger truck. The space needed for delivery, without causing damage to the property or nearby vehicles, is significant at approximately 45 feet of length, 10 feet of width 20 feet in height. This fact is probably the most commonly misunderstood by those that do not habitually rent dumpsters. In most cases, deliveries will be possible in a residential driveway or a private lot that make the dumpster secure and relatively safe. That is, until people load the dumpster. When loading a dumpster, it is critical to keep in mind that it is illegal for a truck to carry a dumpster over the road with debris sticking out of the top because it could potentially fly out into traffic. Failure to comply with this simple rule is all too common, and will result in additional fees for the rental.

When driveways or private lots are not large enough for dumpster delivery, the public street is typically the only other option for placement. As identified in the story linked above, the likely failure to comply with permitting and regulations for street placement caused the death of a driver outside of Los Angeles, CA. This sad and fatal example is the most recent of many issues that arise from misunderstanding the rules and regulations of renting a large dumpster. If the dumpster needs to be placed on the street, at the very least it requires a city permit, and typically also requires reflective materials on the dumpster so as to warn drivers of its presence. These can easily be acquired through the city. I don’t know the exact nature of the accident, but chances are strong that there was no reflective material on the dumpster which made it difficult to see at night, especially for an older driver, therefore causing the accident that cost a woman her life.

Hopefully this column is a small aid to assist in the research people should be doing prior to renting a large piece of equipment like a dumpster. If renters are educated and informed, it will make life easier on the companies renting the dumpsters as well as safer for all those affected by the rental.