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How Your Restaurant’s Dumpster May Lead to a Code Violation


If you own or manage a restaurant then you know all about health and food safety codes. There are a lot of regulations to keep up with to make sure your restaurant is healthy, safe, and compliant. And since you are in the business of food it makes sense to focus on the food.

But there is a common food safety code violation you might be overlooking – open dumpster lids.

Restaurants produce a lot of waste so there are specific regulations surrounding refuse (food waste, scraps, and garbage). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publishes a Food Code, their best scientifically backed advice for addressing food safety. Local state governments use the Food Code as a model for their own food safety rules. This article will focus on general regulations as suggested by the FDA Food Code 2017 but you can find your state’s rules and regulations here .

The FDA Food Code 2017 states that outside receptacles “used outside the food establishment shall be designed and constructed to have tight-fitting lids, doors, or covers” (§ 5-501.15 (A)). And while the dumpsters you order may come with tight-fitting lids, those lids are often not utilized properly by those who take out the trash. There are many reasons for this, the main one being that dumpster lids are heavy and bulky. It is difficult to hoist open the lids while holding trash. It is even harder to then safely lift the trash up and into the bin while holding the lid open. This process often comes with a lot of frustration, leading to the mishandling of dumpster lids – they are either being unsafely propped open or left open entirely.


dumpster with lid propped open using wood pole


Another reason that it is important for your dumpster lids to remain closed is so that they are “rodent-resistant” (§ 5-501.112). Open dumpster lids provide prime access for insects, birds, rodents, and other pests to get into your waste. This leads to health and safety issues because these pests can bring and spread disease. 


seagulls in dumpsterraccoon pest exiting open dumpster


Therefore the food code specifies that “live animals may not be allowed on the premises of a food establishment” (§6-501.115). This regulation applies to rodents and other pests, especially in areas where food contamination can occur ( there are exceptions for service animals, patrol dogs, and pets in certain dining areas) . It is important to not give these unwanted pests a reason to visit your establishment. Keeping dumpster lids closed will prohibit them from rummaging through your trash or making a home of your dumpsters.

The reality is that dumpster lids are left open or propped open because they are cumbersome to manage. The job of taking out the trash is a multi-step process with a lot of risk you might not be aware of, but those who take out the trash can assure you that they are very aware. First, you must set the trash down in order to use both hands to lift open the dirty and often hot lids. Then you must hoist the trash into the bin before shutting the heavy lids which could fall quickly leading to smashed fingers or limbs. And this if you can open the lid fully. If not, you are left with the task of juggling both holding open the big lid while trying to throw away the trash at the same time. All of this leads to an undesirable and frustrating task where shortcuts are often taken, leaving you vulnerable to code violations.

But this code violation is easy to avoid. You must simply provide a frustration-free and safe way for those who take out the trash to do their job properly and efficiently. The Kleen Opener is here to do just that. 


 dumpster with both lids help open cleanly by kleen opener


Kleen Opener is a dumpster lid opener. It is designed to easily lift and close dumpster lids with a simple tug of a strap. Gone are the days of dreading garbage removal and code violations. With Kleen Opener there is now a safe and easy way to manage those bulky dumpster lids and properly dispose of waste. Once you experience Kleen Opener you will never want to deal with dangerous dumpster lids again, and you won’t have to!

Make the choice to #getkleen and stay compliant with your local codes. Order yours today!



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