On-site waste storage containers can be the first stage of a controlled solid waste management. This can happen where the system has been designed to have a beneficial impact on the collection service, or as a labor saving system operated by individual household members. If such storage is to be well organized, consideration must be given to the design of the storage containers.
Factors in design of on-site waste storage containers
- Nature of waste: This influences the choice of container material and whether extra treatment is required for maintenance. For example, The use of steel to store corrosive waste requires tickers walls and/or additional coating
- Size: The waste storage containers should be large enough to accommodate the generated waste. Otherwise the people creating the waste would require additional containers, and wastes could easily be dropped outside the containers.
- Capacity margin: There should be room for extra waste but consideration should also be given to maximize the density of the waste.
- Compatibility: The waste storage container should be compatible with the collection equipment.
- Standardization: This can help to maximize labor and transform productivity in primary collection. It is important for mechanized collection systems in the case of secondary collection. A proper assessment is needed on the applicability and affordability of a mechanized system, particularly in the poorer parts of the developing world.
- Efficiency: The size and shape of collection waste storage containers should be such that the collection efficiency is maximized. For example, in the case of mechanized collection system, storage containers should be compatible with the type of collection vehicle. Where material recovery from storage containers by external contractors is intended, the size of containers should give easy access for the recovery of the waste. The shape of the containers should allow them to be emptied easily, ensuring that manpower is not required to maintain the system. The size and shape should ensure that the containers do note easily block.
- Convenience: The waste storage container should make it easy for the waste generators to deposit material, and for external actors to collect the waste. For example, communal containers should be easily accessible and easy to use. The containers height should be based on the maximum weight a child can lift, particularly in developing countries. For mechanized curb side collection systems, large containers must have wheels to facilitate bringing them to collection points. Lids should be easily used by the operator.
- Public health and aesthetic: Size and shape of the waste storage containers should minimize the exposure and contact of humans involved in their maintenance. Closed waste storage containers, particularly to store biodegradable materials, should be used at or near the source of generation to improve public health and aesthetics. However, if they contain biodegradable materials, particularly in warm humid climates, lids or doors should require less effort to use, or they may be left open and become a breeding ground for rats, flies, and other disease vectors. Design of containers should be such that the waste is protected from rain.
- Social: The possibility of theft, damage, fire-raising, scavenging, etc. should be considered.
- Cost: The waste storage container should be cost-effective. The cost assessment should include life-cycle assessment including operation, maintenance and power requirement for transforming waste to the collection vehicle.
- Ownership: Ownership is very important, particularly in developing countries. For example, ownership by collection agencies always guarantees compatibility and indicates to the waste generator the service will be of good quality.