It’s that time of the year again when heavy snow, ice, sleet and subzero temperatures can wreak chaos on waste collection. The essential elements of your waste program—containers, compactors, recycling, etc.—live outside. And when a heavy snowfall hits or freezing temperatures swoop in, these conditions can put a damper on your typical day-to-day waste removal process.
You need to be prepared. But how?
It’s helpful to work with a managed waste service provider to handle all aspects of your waste management program, especially during times when the weather can cause a few hiccups. It’s also imperative to have a plan in place that specifically outlines what needs to be done to prepare for cold-weather conditions.
So, before that first snowstorm hits and you’re walking in a winter wonderland, here are a few planning tips to keep in mind that will help ensure your waste and recycling services run efficiently and effectively.
Prepare and Protect Your Equipment
Make sure snow isn’t blocking your equipment. Whether you plow yourself or hire a snow removal service, make sure that the entrance to your equipment is free of snow pileups. This will help keep your waste and recycling hauling schedule on track and avoid having to miss or reschedule any pickups—and incremental charges.
Don’t forget about the power unit—it’s something that can easily get buried under all that snow, so it’s important to always make sure it’s clear.
To help prevent any liquids in the machine from freezing solid and inhibiting the machine from operating properly, you can occasionally throw a small amount of rock salt or urea into the compactor.
Freezing rain could lead to a frozen control panel. It’s important to cover up your control panels to protect them.
Check the placement of your compactor. Is it below an area where precipitation or snow can easily melt off? Make sure your compactor is in a good spot to avoid any issues.
Warm Up Your Compactor
If you do not use your compactor consistently during evening hours, a “warm-up” cycle is recommended for the compactor prior to regular use. When hydraulic fluid gets cold, it turns to a syrup-like consistency. It takes a few cycles to warm up before the normal operational cycle continues again. Cycle the compactor ram in short cycles for a brief period to ensure that the compactor ram can move adequately in and out. Doing this not only can prevent major damage, but can also warm the machine cylinders, pumps, valves and oil, which has the effect of easing the equipment into use.
Keep Communication Open
Be transparent and communicative in advance of cold weather conditions as much as possible. An open communication line will help ensure all protocols are being met. If your area is prone to harsh winter weather conditions, you may want to have your compactor hauled more frequently. If you know your compactor is full, work with your hauler to have it emptied before severe weather hits.
No matter if there’s six feet of snow or if it’s 10 degrees below, a managed waste service provider can help identify real-time needs and ensure that all garbage and recycling items are taken care of appropriately and in a timely manner outside, so you can stay warm and cozy inside.