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When it comes to managing trash collection at a facility, good logistics can make a huge difference. Small problems compound easily when taken to a large scale at places such as a multifamily apartment, high-rise office, hotel, or sports stadium. Trash chutes can make a big impact on many levels. They can improve facility cleanliness, air quality, labor costs, and even workplace safety.

Multifamily residences are unique in this category as tenants of all ages are most likely to be accessing the trash chute door. Safety is a top priority. The first step is to make sure that the trash chute was professionally installed. Facility managers should also regularly schedule crews to clean and maintain trash chute equipment properly to prevent injury or harm to users, as well as financial liability.

There are regulations that require proper inspection and maintenance of trash chute systems for a variety of health and safety reasons. Although concern is far more than a fire safety issue, the main authority is NFPA 82 (National Fire Protection Association). Local laws may have regional variances, so be sure to check. A reputable commercial contractor should be familiar with related building codes and annual inspection requirements.

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Another code consideration is that the installation complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). There are requirements about aspects such as accessibility, door handle hardware, height, and enclosure space. Chutes not in compliance may require retrofitting or stiff penalties may be assessed. A CASp inspector can help identify and avoid these costly problems.

Industrial trash chutes face the same regulations, although they are typically confined to “employees only” areas accessed by professional cleaning staff. Places like office buildings, commercial complexes, hotels, and assisted senior living facilities often have trash chutes for hauling away large volumes of garbage quickly and easily.

Hauling trash indoors in this manner can minimize odors in common areas, hallways, elevators, and stairwells. It can also prevent slips from leakage and other employee injuries from hauling trash.

These industrial chutes are typically installed during initial building construction, however, there are methods for installation in existing buildings. Experienced and licensed construction companies can provide more detailed information.

Keep in mind that many large construction companies shy away from this type of work, so a reputable, specialist construction company may be the ideal partner.

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A sports stadium is well suited for trash chute system installation. Volumes of baseball, football, basketball, soccer, and hockey fans generate tons of trash at each sporting event. Their unique building structure allows for trash chute installations before, during, and after primary construction.

Trash chutes often deposit trash directly into lower-level dumpsters or trash compactors. This convenience can save time and labor costs. It also reduces the number of times trash is handled directly, in a time when cleanliness is at the forefront.

While this can be convenient it also poses a problem. Combustibles and other hazardous materials commonly cause fires in trash areas. To prevent the quick spread of fire through these conduits, fire safety closures must be properly installed at the end of the chute. Upper-level access doors must also be fire-rated.

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Chutes are either rectangular or round. The shape may be determined by construction constraints or the manufacturer’s equipment. However, when presented with the option, one should consider the benefits of a round trash chute. Much like the infamous query “Why are manhole covers round?” – a round chute is more likely to prevent oversized items from becoming wedged as they cannot be rotated for a different fit as rectangular chutes allow.

Modern trash chutes may also come with extra features. Deceleration tracks and noise dampeners are common. Built-in cleaning systems are also prevalent, dispersing cleaning agents and sprays to help alleviate internal grime and odors. However, cleaning personnel may still be required for more extensive power washing and external hardware.

If you are considering the benefits of installing a trash chute or need professional maintenance on existing equipment, the best resource for referrals may be your janitorial or facility maintenance crew. They are likely to already offer those services or work in conjunction with those who do. For installation try specialist commercial construction companies that are familiar with industrial buildings and local codes.

Commercial trash chutes are more than a useful convenience, they can provide significant savings on labor and accident costs. Larger commercial facilities should consider the installation and regular maintenance of trash chute systems to improve the health and safety of those around.

Written in conjunction with CAM Property Services, a facility maintenance company offering a broad range of property services throughout Southern California.

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