Types of Dumpsters

by Bill Richards; Updated September 26, 2017
Garbage dumpster

Dumpsters or other large waste receptacles are distinguished by their size, how they load and how they are transported. Knowing about these differences will help you choose the best type for the job you are doing.

Garbage Trucks

The type of garbage truck being used determines which type of waste receptacle may be used. There are two main types of garbage trucks: front loaders and back loaders. Front loaders are used exclusively to pick up front-loader receptacles, while rear loaders can accommodate rear-loader bins, as well as trash from trash cans. There are also side-loading dump trucks, but they can only pick up trash cans. Some even have robotic arms that automatically empty trash cans on the side of the road. Finally, there are roll-off dump trucks, which to handle the long, open-top waste receptacles often seen at construction sites.

Front Loader Dumpsters

Front-loader waste receptacles are similar in size to rear-loaders. The main difference lies in how they are managed by the dump truck. Front-loader receptacles have a slot on each side that the dump truck sticks its front spikes into. The spikes lock in place, and the receptacle is lifted over the truck and dumped into the top of the rear garbage container. These units range from 2 cubic yards to 8 cubic yards.

Rear Loader Dumpsters

The rear-loader waste receptacle has a more complicated loading mechanism, involving a hinge system and a winch. First, a two poles that extend laterally out of the front lip of the receptacle are locked in place right above the bottom lip of the opening in the back of the dump truck. A hook attached to a winch on the truck is then fastened to a hole on the back lip of the receptacle. The hook pulls it up until all the refuse falls into the cavity of the dump truck. These units range from 2 cubic yards to 8 cubic yards.

Roll Off Dumpsters

Roll off trash receptacles are the largest-capacity bins available, topping out at 40 cubic yards. They are loaded either with a robotic arm or a winch and a metal sled. The robotic arm system simply grabs a hook on the end of the receptacle and pulls it onto the bed of the truck. The winch and sled model involves lifting the metal sled off the bed of the truck at roughly a 45-degree angle. The bin is then hitched to the winch, and pulled up the metal sled. As the bin ascends the sled, the sled is tilted back to a horizontal position.

About the Author

Bill Richards has been a writer since 2008 and is currently working part-time at a Boston star-tup company. He was previously an editor chief of a small newspaper and has expertise in the fields of psychology, electronics, video and image production, and business.

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