Pick the Right Sized Trash Bag for the Job

There are a mind-boggling number of different garbage bags on shelves today. Between various brands, bag types, applications, material, and sizes, one could be forgiven for simply grabbing a box and running to the next aisle hoping for the best.

There are more than a dozen different sizes of trash receptacles in homes. The most common types have many brands competing for their trash bag business. Here’s a guide to the types of cans you have at home, and which size trash bag fit them the best.

First, you need to know that the bags are measured in gallons, which can cause confusion. It helps if you imagine liquid poured into the bag, outside of the container, filling it completely. In reality, the bags don’t hold that much, and often would not stand up to holding that amount of liquid.

4 gallon trash bag

These small boutique trash cans are the workhouse of the home. Found in nearly every room, some people opt to not put any bags in them at all. However, a small 4-gallon bag will do nicely. It will keep your can clean and leave plenty of room to tie the bag shut before putting it out to the curb in your larger trash bin.

8 gallon trash bag

Commonly referred to as the kitchen trash bag, the 8-10 gallon bag can be found in every home. Big enough to hold food and refuse from a couple of days of cooking, it is also small enough for anyone to carry out to the trash bin – even your youngest helpers. And it fits comfortably under most kitchen sinks.

12-15 gallon trash bag

This work room or garage trash bag is perfect for hearty use. It can hold a lot of trash from several projects, or one big one. Watch out, though. When full, this bag can be a load to carry!

20 gallon trash bags and larger

Designed for heavier outdoor or industrial use, bags are made to fit receptacles of nearly every size. These can hold bags within a bag, and are often used as liners rather than trash bags. That is, they are used to keep the bin clean while other smaller trash bags are placed inside then dumped into garbage trucks or dumpsters.

Remember: bagging your garbage is a good choice for keeping your trash bins clean. Check with your community guidelines about which kinds of garbage bags are acceptable at your waste site.

Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas

Backyard Landscaping Ideas

Spring time is almost here, and the warmer weather might be pushing you to attend to your yard for the first time since the first frost. This might seem like a daunting project, but there are several easy and fast ideas that will transform your outdoor space.

The first thing that might help bring your yard back together is a fresh layer of mulch on any showing dirt or garden space. The topsoil or leftover mulch from the previous spring might have lost its color, evenness, and spread, making now the perfect time to put some more down. Taking the time to rake out a couple bags of fresh mulch throughout your garden will not only add vibrancy, but also protect the soil from coming rain.

Before putting down mulch, consider going to your local flower and plant shop to purchase a couple of both ground plants and pots. These in combination with the mulch will put the color back in places that used to be covered with snow and ice.

Adding vertical components to your yard such as trelicases will also add visual depth to your backyard. These will allow vines to grow upwards instead of out, controlling where your plants are growing and adding to the aesthetic at the same time. If you have a garden, you can use vertical features to make space for things like beans and cucumbers to grow as well.

If you have the space, digging a hole for a small pond may also be the cheap and easy landscaping project you are looking for. Nestling a plastic basin – bought from your local or chain hardware store – into a corner or along a fence will also begin to attract more neighborhood wildlife! You will soon notice birds, squirrels, and maybe even frogs and turtles gathering in your yard.

If you are looking for a way to repurpose things from your garage, painting rocks or old gardening tools (watering can, flow pot, etc.) and placing them tastefully around your yard can add a creative aspect to your outdoor space.

Though these are just the start of ways you can quickly and cheaply transform your yard after the long winter, the list of possibilities is endless. Regardless of what you choose, take the time to throw away or refurbish your old or worn items and refresh the view from your window!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is That Spill in My Garage?

When it gets to be time to clean out your garage, and you have worked all day to get it cleaned out, you are likely to see something you haven’t seen in a long time: your garage floor.

And there you are likely to find a wide variety of spills and stains.

Here is a handy guide to the kinds of stains you might find, and how you should go about cleaning them up.

Gasoline

A common spill in the garage is gasoline. This kind of spill happens most often if you use a gas powered mower or trimmer.  These often require that you mix gas and oil in a separate container and then fill the mower or trimmer through a spout. Those spouts are prone to leak.

You will likely recognize the smell of gasoline stain. Sop up any excess fluid with a cloth or rag, then dispose of that in the trash after allowing the cloth to sit in a breeze to allow gasoline to evaporate. This will keep it from becoming a fire threat in your trash can. The remaining stain can be treated with kitty litter or sawdust which will help draw the remaining liquid out.

Oil

Another common garage spill is oil. This can happen the same way the gasoline spills happen, because many two-stroke engines require a mix of gasoline and oil, so these spills often happen together. Additionally, it can happen if you change your oil in your garage. It is not unusual for a little oil to get on the floor from a drip, or perhaps even a spill if you accidentally knock something over.

As with gas, you should sop up excess or standing fluid with a cloth, kitty litter, or sawdust. After allowing it to air out until the odor diminishes, you can then sweep it up into a trash bag and throw it away.

Windshield wiper fluid

A third, most common spill in a garage is windshield wiper fluid. This is frequently colorless, but might have a sweet odor, if you’re adventurous enough to have a sniff.

Cleanup is very straightforward, just sop up the excess with a rag or towel. Luckily this poses no threat in your trash.

If you are routinely finding these stains under your car, and you note that the spill returns after you have cleaned it up, the problem isn’t your garage, it’s your car. Take it to your mechanic to make sure that the leak can be fixed and it quits messing up the garage you worked so hard to clean!

Driveway stains. Photo by Jon Moore on Unsplash

 

I Found an Old Chemical Barrel Cleaning Out My New Property, What Do I Do?

You are excited to get out into that  old structure on the back of your new property. There’s lots of junk in there: metal that would have to be scrapped, parts of things that crumbled or broke as you moved them. But you weren’t expecting this.

There under a tarp are a couple of barrels of some sort of liquid. Perhaps you can read the label or perhaps they are covered over with grime and dust from years of neglect. For some reason the previous owner could not dispose of what’s ever inside these barrels, or else they believed it would one day come in handy and kept it safe.

But now it is yours.  and you don’t know what it is.

What should you do?

esist your urge to see

First you have to resist your curious urge to check what is inside. It is natural to want to pry open the lid and have a look at this new mysterious liquid you own. You might be thinking to yourself, “How bad could it be?”

In actuality it could be really bad. After all there is a reason the previous owner did not dispose of it. It is possibly extremely hazardous material. Opening it could pose a hazard to you and others working in that area, and could even make the space uninhabitable.

Worse yet, some sealed materials deteriorate over time, and when you open the barrel, exposing them to oxygen could give them fuel they need to burst into flame.

Call the fire department

If the label on the side of the barrel is clearly labeled and  you can read the numbers,  you should call your local fire department and speak with a firefighter. This firefighter can tell you what exactly is contained in the barrel and what you need to do to safely dispose of it.

If the label on the side of the barrel can’t be read,  firefighters will respond to your location. They will bring the apparatus they need to investigate what’s in that barrel in a way that keeps everyone safe by preventing a fire or sickness from inhaling noxious or dangerous fumes.

It is easy to forget that firefighters strive to prevent problems rather than merely responding to them.  one phone call allows them to do their job and helps to keep you and your property safe.

Let firefighters tell you what is in the barrel. Picture by HafisFox via Pixabay.

 

Disposing of Your Artificial Christmas Tree Responsibly

Your artificial Christmas tree may save you a trip out in the cold winter weather to cut down or purchase a living one, but after years of sweeping away the plastic needles you may be debating on if it’s time to let it go.

Before tossing it to the curb, consider two more eco-friendly avenues of disposing of your artificial Christmas tree:

Donate it!

Local charities may be open to accommodating your used Christmas tree. While finding ways to sustainably dispose of your tree are good options, donating it for reuse and repurposing is the most eco friendly! Charities such as Goodwill and Salvation Army are good options to start with, so long as your tree is in decent shape. You could also try online buyer-seller avenues such as Facebook marketplace.

Recycle/repurpose it!

While correctly recycling your artificial Christmas tree is a viable option, you should not throw it in with your regular weekly or bi-weekly recycling. This is due to a common component of artificial trees: PVC, a material that many recycling plants cannot properly process. If your city has the capability to process a wider variety of plastics, it is worth checking if they are also able to process your tree. Otherwise, err on the side of caution and call your local recycling center.

Your local recycling center may be able to accommodate a special pickup and disposal of your artificial tree for you. Call ahead to make sure this is an option, but it is likely that there is a source for properly recycling your artificial tree in your area. This will ensure proper handling and processing of the plastic. Before doing this, make sure that you have completely taken down all of your decorations, leaving a bare tree. Leaving non-recyclable items or that can’t be accommodated items on your tree can further disrupt the recycling process.

If neither of those options seem to be the right one for you, feel free to look for inspiration on other websites that give options for repurposing your tree and its parts. While the tree as a whole may not be fit for another year of Christmas/holiday celebration, smaller components like the base or individual branches may be able to be crafted into smaller mantelpieces, centerpieces, or door frame decorations.

Before hastily disassembling your artificial tree and throwing it away, there are many sustainable options you should consider before tossing it to the curb!

Dispose of your artificial Christmas tree responsibly.

Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata from Pexels

Why Trash Pandas Hate Big Daddy Dumpsters

Recently our office was been getting a lot of complaints that were hard for us to understand. Literally hard to understand. The messages were a series of squeaks and growls. They were sometimes very short, and other times they filled our entire answering machine queue.

After weeks of this, we knew we had to get to the bottom of the phenomenon, so we took a tape to a local animal expert at the Cincinnati Zoo.

As she reviewed the tape, she created a list of possible suspects, and had it narrowed down to three or four finalists. Finally she asked, “What does your company do again?”

When we explained that we provided the area’s strongest and most reliable dumpsters for residential or industrial purposes, she nodded knowingly.

“You have yourself some angry raccoons.”

Photo by Dim Hou on Unsplash

Raccoons are trash pandas

Typically raccoons don’t care much about what you call them. Some people call them trash bandits because of the markings on their faces that make them look like they have tied a mask over their eyes.

Other people just call them vermin, because they can congregate around people and even thrive living off our waste products. These people assert that the movie “Over the Hedge” is a documentary, and that it accurately portrays the fact that it is nearly impossible to defeat a raccoon’s effort to get into your trash.

It was certainly a loving fan of raccoons that first called them “trash pandas.” For unlike other trash-eating animals like possums and rats, the markings and long fur on raccoons makes them appear cuddly and approachable, and in many ways like a small panda.

But why were the trash pandas pranking our office?

 

Of course, even though the specialist we contacted was able to identify the sounds as coming from raccoons, no one actually “speaks” raccoonese. Not even at the zoo.

We thought we would be left to speculate until recently Big Daddy Dumpsters actually hired a raccoon to appear in our ads. After a long day of shooting … err, he prefers if we say filming … our commercials, he opened up at the charcuterie table.

“Have you ever tried climbing into a Big Daddy Dumpster?” He didn’t wait for an answer before he continued. “Imagine if you were less than a foot tall. It’s impossible. You can’t eat like that. You can’t LIVE like that.”

So there you have it, raccoons hate Big Daddy Dumpsters because they are critter-proof.

 

This Spring, Host a Neighborhood Clean-up

The snow has melted, the leaves are budding, and everyone in the neighborhood has fired up their lawnmowers and leaf blowers for another season of outdoor activity. You even see some new hardware on the block – Stan seems to have gotten a new push mower, and Michael’s apparently switched over to all electric tools.

Further up the street, Mrs. Cooper has plans to take out her trellis.

As you look at the clutter in your own garage, you realize that you might need a dumpster in order to get rid of all the crap you’ve accumulated over the years. The door you took out in the remodel? There’s no place for it in the house now, it is an orphan. That last 8 feet of quarter round? It’s now warped from being under the chicken wire. And the chicken wire? Bent and a little rusted from years of anticipation but no real duties.

Then a brilliant idea forms.

You could host a Neighborhood clean-up day

You’ve noticed that other people are in the same situation you are in. Their basements and garages are cluttered. (Well, not Trevor. Trevor’s is spotless, like everything else. But that’s how he deals with his own issues.) And they have projects they would like to do, but they just need a friendly shove in the right direction.

What if you announced a date, and got a few neighbors to go in on a dumpster for the neighborhood?

Suddenly you and your neighbors are sharing the cost of waste disposal, and providing a big push towards getting your neighborhood spruced up all at the same time.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Choose a date a month from now and circulate it through word of mouth or with a door flier
  • Ask people to let you know the things they hope to be able to throw away
  • Work with local re-use agencies like St. Vincent DePaul to set up a way to donate items that can still be used
  • Work with a Big Daddy Dumpster representative to determine the right size dumpster for whatever remains
  • Ask people to provide a contribution toward the dumpster.

When dividing the cost, don’t worry about precision and fair cost – you’ll never get the math to work out perfectly, and why would you want to? Instead, just ask people for what they think is fair. What you will find in the end is that you likely recover the full cost, and you have enough to buy food for a Saturday Evening cookout.

Why Rent a Dumpster?

You have seen the ads. A company promises to bring a huge dumpster and place it in front of your property for some amount of time. The plan is that you will easily haul away trash from a major project.

 

“Why would I do that?” you asked yourself. “That’s got to hurt my curb value.”

 

Perhaps you’ve wondered if making phone calls and paying for the delivery is worth it at all.

 

But let’s look at the alternatives.

 

Are There Alternatives to a Dumpster?

 

You could get a dumpster, but why? You could just purchase several boxes of large garbage bags.

 

Let’s walk through this process.

 

You fill one bag, then another. You still have to move it someplace. If you’re doing it the day before trash day, great! You can just haul it to the curb. However, many municipalities Have limits on how much trash they will pick up at an individual household.

 

Now you have become a small business manager, determining how much trash to put out … and where to store the rest of it for the next week.

 

Most of us store our trash in the back or side of the house.  So now you are in the business of moving your trash twice.

 

Ordering a dumpster puts YOU in charge of the schedule.

 

Garbage Bags are Not the Answer

 

Besides for many types of garbage, bags aren’t the answer. Table parts, furniture legs, lumber, and more all require separate handling.

 

The easiest way to handle this is the heart directly outside as you’re taking it apart and heave it in the dumpster.  You don’t have to disassemble anything. Just throw and go.

 

This can save countless hours fussing and struggling to break down pre-built furniture.

 

Additionally, with heavy items like old paint or wet and moldy drywall, you will use up dozens of bags and getting it all out to the curb. With a dumpster you can fill and dump buckets or other more solid containers. This makes it less likely that you will rip a bag and have to re-bag it, or that you will get a cut from sharp edges or screws and nails.

 

 

So renting a large dumpster from Big Daddy Dumpsters can save you time, energy, and money, and maybe keep you safer from cuts and scrapes.

 

The only real question is, why haven’t you called to schedule yours yet? Our friendly operators are standing by to take your call and schedule your dumpster today.

When Is It Time to Replace My Mattress?

Americans have a love / hate relationship with our mattresses. We spend almost ⅓ of our time with them, and if it goes well, we have no memory of the experience.

 

Mattresses can be expensive investments, or cheap afterthoughts.

 

With this much time and money invested in finding the right mattress, when it starts to go, you want to carefully evaluate your options.

 

Here are signs that you need to throw your mattress away.

 

  1. It sags. There’s that sweet spot where you and your loved one cuddle, or you burrow in each night. You can find it easily because you sort of “roll in.” That sag, however, indicates that your support and ability to move around at night are diminished. Toss it.

 

  1. It has lumps and bumps. Lumps and bumps and buttons are signs of broken springs or misplaced foam and support. In addition to being a sign of wear and tear, they work against your good night’s sleep. Toss it.

 

  1. It is creaky, or squeaky. First, check if the creak or squeak is coming from your mattress or your box springs. Often the springs will be the culprit, and they should be replaced. If it is the mattress making the noise, but it’s not keeping you up, you can keep it a little while longer. But soon it will be time to toss it.

 

  1. Stains with odors. Pets, children, and a wide range of non-sleeping activities can leave your mattress stained. You can change the sheets and cover that up – you’re probably not hosting dinner parties on the bed anyway … right? But odors? If a quick spray with an over-the-counter cleaner doesn’t do the trick, toss the mattress.

 

  1. Bugs, especially bed bugs. No discussion here. Toss it. But what about …? No. Toss it.

 

  1. Aches and pains from sleeping. Your mattress and a night’s sleep should leave you feeling fit and rested, not tired and tested. If your mattress is the cause of your aches and pains, there is nothing to be done. Toss it.

 

Often your mattress and your box springs are a matched set. They don’t have to be, but a good match is an important thing to consider.

 

If you’ve got two large items to throw away, maybe it is time to consider renting a dumpster and turning this into a project?

How Do I Throw Out a Mercury Thermometer?

You know that you are supposed to be careful when disposing of mercury. But why? And what if it comes in such a tiny amount as what is in a thermometer?

Mercury is a toxic element that has confounded and enticed people since its discovery. The element 80, with the abbreviation Hg, has long been associated with speed. This is because, at room temperatures, it holds together well and glides almost without friction over a surface.

This speed, combined with its color, earned it the nickname “quicksilver.”

Because even water would not stick to it, a popular use for mercury in the past was to treat felt hats. Hatters would rub the element onto the felt surface, making the hat virtually waterproof.

Over time, though, the effect of daily interaction was very pronounced on hatters. They tended to suffer from mental illness or “lunacy” at a high rate, which was the basis for the term “mad as a hatter.” Mercury was the culprit.

Mercury in thermometers

Mercury was also very responsive to changes in temperature. If it got hotter, it would expand. Cooler, it would contract. It became the most common ingredient in home thermometers, as a reliable and sensitive gage of temperature.

However, as the EPA and global environmental groups came to realize, mercury was causing a host of other illnesses in people.

Worse yet, when dumped in the environment, mercury did not break down.

Instead, it steadily made its way to water, remaining in its original form. There it sat until ingested by fish, or the things that fish ate. Then people ate those fishes. As our testing became more sensitive, we came to realize this mercury in the environment threatened our health. This led to a ban on the use of mercury in 2008, with the goal of not using it in the US and limiting its use around the world.

What if I happen across some mercury?

Despite the ban, mercury is still around us. It can be found in an old home science kit, or a thermometer that your mom has used for decades.

If you find mercury in any form while you are cleaning out the basement or a parent’s house, including a trace amount in an old thermometer, there are specific rules for disposal.

Your community likely offers one or more ways to safely dispose of this dangerous element. A quick guide from the EPA is available here: https://www.epa.gov/mercury/storing-transporting-and-disposing-mercury

A search in your phone book or online should reveal a local drop-off site for your hazardous material.

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