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What is the difference between a dumpster and a rubbish bin?

A dumpster and a rubbish bin serve a similar purpose but are used differently when it comes to managing waste. Choosing between these two requires an individual or business to assess their waste and determine what best suits their needs. Understanding how they differ gives you an informed decision on what you should choose when disposing of waste. This article explores the unique characteristics of these types of waste containers to establish their differences.

Rubbish bin

This type of waste container is usually smaller and portable making it ideal for disposing little amounts of garbage. It is easier to carry them around and dispose of trash like cramped papers, cans, bottles, and food remains. They can either have a flat base that is stationary or with wheels for easier mobility. Since rubbish bins are smaller, it is necessary to empty them regularly to create room for other waste.

Use the right garbage bin for what you need!

Another reason for disposing of these wastes frequently is that they are often kept indoors and when they stay longer, they can start to smell and attract pests.


This waste container is larger compared to a rubbish bin and is built to handle large volumes of garbage. Dumpsters are offered in a variety of sizes that accommodate different types of projects. Unlike trash cans, these large containers can handle bulky loads and withstand rough handling over time. Most designs have an open-top or a hinged lid that allows easy disposal of bulky or large items. These containers are often rented for an agreed timeframe before they are retrieved for disposal. Dumpsters can also handle a variety of waste materials generated from construction or by businesses in different industries.

Main differences

  1. Size
    A distinguishing feature between a dumpster and a rubbish bin is their size. Dumpsters are larger because they are meant to handle substantial volumes of waste. The latter is smaller and better suited for daily waste disposal. Because dumpsters are large and bulky, they require specialized vehicles and equipment for loading and offloading. Trash cans on the other hand are portable and can easily be relocated from one place to another.
  2. Durability
    Dumpsters are primarily made out of heavy metal which makes them highly durable. They can easily handle the stress that comes with loading and offloading or carrying heavy waste materials such as concrete. Rubbish bins on the other hand are portable and made up of lightweight materials such as plastic. They are incapable of handling heavier or irregular wastes because of their small size.
  3. Uses
    Industrial facilities and construction sites benefit significantly from renting dumpsters as they are built for large waste removals. These containers are placed at a strategic location on site where wastes can be disposed of and picked up later by the dumpster rental company. Trash bins are used for small-scale waste management in both residential and commercial settings. They only hold waste for a short amount of time.
  4. Placement
    Dumpsters are often placed at locations that are convenient and strategic for waste disposal and collection. They should be located in open areas around the site where they can be picked off by garbage trucks. Choosing the best location for dumpster placement is essential as it shouldn’t create obstructions or hazards. Rubbish bins are often placed near entrances and exits of homes, buildings, and public spaces. You can also find smaller trash cans inside rooms such as the kitchen and the bathroom.
  5. Emptying Schedule
    Rubbish bins are often emptied daily or frequently unlike dumpsters. This is necessary to enhance hygiene, and aesthetics and minimize safety hazards inside residential and commercial areas. When garbage cans go unemptied for a long time, it promotes the growth of mold and bacteria which can cause health problems for the occupants. Dumpsters get emptied regularly such as once a week or monthly based on your project needs. Once the container is full or you no longer require it, you can always contact a waste disposal company to dispose of the trash for you.

The volume of waste you intend to get rid of will determine whether you need a dumpster or a rubbish bin. While both can help you fulfill your waste management needs, they are used in different ways and have a specific limit of what they can hold at a time. Understanding what container is useful for your project can help you come up with an informed decision when choosing between a dumpster and a rubbish bin.