We field this question every day during the cold winter months. Here in New Jersey, our winter temperatures regularly drop below the freezing mark and when this happens, all of the rainwater, melted snow, etc. that has collected in the dumpster freezes. It is a very frustrating time of year for workers in the industry because once the water freezes, so does the trash inside. It is not uncommon to dump a box and have nothing at all come out of it during the winter!
So, how do we get the garbage out? Well, it isn’t easy. The first thing we do is we try to pull out from under the load in the dump. Sometimes, we can get lucky and the debris just slides out like one big garbage ice pop. That is rare. More typically, we have to dump what we can manually and then wait for the dump to scrape the inside of the roll off container out with an excavator.
The machines are large and are limited in what they can scrape out. They are very good at getting the debris out of the middle and back of the roll off container, but they have difficulty scraping out the front corners of the containers. The containers scraped out by excavators usually have a small amount of debris still stuck to the very bottom of the container and in the front corners.
When the excavators finish what they can do, we get inside the roll off container and we chip away at the remaining debris by hand using large metal bars. We do the best we can to get the bulk of the waste out and then we deliver the container to the next site. It isn’t a perfect setting and we do our best to minimize the impact to our customers.
We will not deliver a roll off dumpster that has too much debris frozen inside it. These containers are returned to our yard and left to “thaw” for a while. We then remove the debris (by hand) and return the roll off container into the active fleet of dumpsters. We work hard for you and we thank you all for your patience during the coldest months!
Be safe, be well and most of all BE HAPPY!