Wind direction & garbage pick up: insider secrets to reduce irritation

Wind coming from the west

Once the building is finished, the design cannot be altered. However, the way a building is situated and where the pick-up is will have a significant impact on odour complaints. Unfortunately, the timing of garbage pick-up is approximate and the window for pick-up is small. Consequently, bins are put out early.  A driver will not wait but will move to the next location if bins are not out. That causes a host of other problems. 

A key factor is where the building air intake is located – hopefully far away from the collection area.

If the garbage must sit below the make-up air intake, there will be issues with odour complaints on pick-up days. This is because the bins are left to bake in the sun waiting for the truck.  Another factor is the truck itself which has a strong stench. The air intake pulls this foul smell inside while the collection happens.  Filters fix much of it, but may not be perfect. There are work-arounds that won’t solve the problem, but will reduce the issue. 

The first recommendation is to spray a scented deodorizer completely around the bins before moving them to the collection area. In summer if the truck is running late, it can be done agian while the bins are awaiting pick up. These scents are not too harsh and will cover up the odours without attracting pests. 

The second work-around is to use a citrus based degreaser to clean up the bins and driveway immediately after pick-up. A citrus based degreaser will stop the odours on contact so that within minutes the wafting stops. (for more on degreasers read more here: Evaluating degreasers: what you need to know)

Prevailing wind direction impacts complaints

condo building

When pick-up is outside the building the prevailing wind direction has a big impact on how the interior of the building fares. In the GTA the prevailing wind is a west wind. If pick-up is on the west side of your building near roll-up doors be careful. Any wafting odours will go directly into the compactor room, up the chutes and through the halls. Even worse, It does not get filtered on the way in.  (For more on how air moves up the chute read Ugh…Why Does the Chute Room Smell Disgusting?).

To mitigate this issue there are three work-arounds. 

The first is to spray the bins with a deodorizer prior to moving them outside so the bins do not have as much odour. 

The second is to leave the roll up doors closed, that way fewer odours will blow into the compactor room and up the chute. 

Finally, cleaning with a citrus based degreaser to stop odours and using it immediately after pick-up eliminates this issue.

Indoor pick-up presents its own issues particularly as this area often doubles as a moving room. Moving in day should feel great, not dirty.

Indoor pick-up can be the most effective since the sun does not beat down on the garbage as it awaits pick-up.  Some wonderful builders even have cold storage rooms for full bins. This is ideal as the garbage does not break down as fast and it will be picked up while still cold. There will be few odours except from the turck itself.  (For more on how heat impacts garbage break down read: How come garbage smells gross? )

Celebrate if you have this! 

There are still issues with indoor pick up, however, as the odours can waft from bins and also trucks.  Again, a good solution is to use a citrus based degreaser to stop odours on contact and to clean as the pick-up is leaving. This is particularly important if it is garbage and organics. It may be worthwhile to look at getting AC installed in this area to reduce smell or to install a scent system to mask odours.

moving in

If your pick-up is away from the building and prevailing wind blows smell away, pick-up is less stressful.

Some condos have pick up away from the building or behind it with the wind blowing odours away. This is ideal (unless your odours waft to the next building in which case immediate cleaning is being a good neighbour).  In this case, cleaning is less urgent and you can do it when convenient.

Pro-Active Odor Control