Plastic Waste Containers

One of the most common questions posed within the waste industry with regards to containers is a simple one: steel or plastic? Ultimately however both steel and plastic bins are judged on the same features: reliability, durability, safety, ease of use and value. This page will analyse these features to see how 4-Wheeled Plastic Bins compare to 4-Wheeled Steel containers.

The key differences separating steel and plastic containers are durability and longevity. An independent survey by Birmingham Council found that the average of their fleet of 23,000 x Taylor Continental 1100L/290 Gal. containers were seventeen years old, and still in excellent shape. Plastic bins however are structurally weaker than steel bins, which is intensified by a number of environmental factors that are not faced by steel bins. The high temperatures found particularly in the Middle East, Africa, and the Far East can quickly degrade plastic bins, leading to warping and eventually to the bins failing. Exposure to high intensity UV rays also damages plastic products, an issue not faced by steel bins, meaning that for countries and areas with a hot and sunny environment are better suited to steel waste containers.

A substantial gap emerges when comparing the safety risk posed by fire to steel and plastic bins. Almost all fires within a plastic unit will cause serious damage or destroy the container completely. Not only this but the fire may spread, causing further damage to other units, and spreading into other areas. The benefits of steel bins in this case are obvious, with fires contained within the unit and not spreading, nor causing substantial damage to the container. This reduces fire risk, and saves money as units do not have to be replaced.

Steel containers also have another substantial benefit over plastic 4-Wheeled containers because they can be repaired. Cracks in plastic panels render the container as scrap whereas steel can be repaired to be fit for purpose for years to come.

To conclude, longevity of steel EN840-2 bins in comparison to their plastic counterparts offer a far more cost effective and value for money medium for storing refuse. Whereas plastic bins are damaged rapidly galvanised steel bins are able to endure and may be refurbished to further prolong the life of the container. Finally the fire risk posed by plastic as opposed to steel bins is such that steel bins have become the containers of choice in many international markets.

Click here to view our case study on Plastic Bins


Continental 1100

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