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Choose Your Carts Wisely


With waste diversion regulations on the rise in several regions, cities are starting to provide organic waste collection services. Customer's curbside carts play an important role in the success of the service. Learn what to look for in a quality cart.

From apple peels to pizza crusts, food waste is piling up from kitchen to curbside, and with tighter waste diversion regulations, this results in more and more cities employing organic waste collection.

Cart selection can make a huge difference in the organic waste stream cycle. By making a simple checklist of fundamental organics cart features during the purchasing process, cities can reduce the possibility of liability and the associated costs while increasing citizen satisfaction.

Selecting the right cart

Load Rating

It is important to select specially designed carts that make collecting, transporting, and storing heavy, wet organic waste safe and easy. Checking the load rating is key since hoisting heavy carts can pose the risk of injury to workers.

When workers are lifting and maneuvering carts that are too heavy and don’t meet the load-rating requirements, it can result in overexertion, injury, and worker’s compensation claims. To ensure that each cart can handle the weight that is required for organics waste streams, look for carts with a higher strength-to-weight ratio for improved safety and maneuverability.

Select an organic cart that provides load ratings that exceed ANSI minimums (up to 300 lb); withstanding 6-1/2 lb-per-gallon versus the standard 3-1/2 lb-per-gallon.




Common organics waste collection issues are typically related to the quality of the cart material. When carrying heavy organic waste, it is important to have a pliable material, otherwise, the carts are brittle and crush easily. Cracking is common with injection carts. When holding kitchen scraps and leftovers from cooking – some of the biggest offenders for pungent odors – it’s a real problem to have cracked organics carts and often (rightfully!) leads to customer complaints.

A better alternative is rotationally molded organics carts, which are highly durable, last longer, and need fewer repairs. Their high-quality construction decreases total lifetime costs and delivers customer satisfaction.


The design of the organics cart is another feature that if overlooked, could potentially cause liability concerns and fines. An example of inefficient design is a cart with holes drilled into it to accommodate a stop bar or axles, which would result in significant leakage.

As more cities are concerned over runoff into the sewer, it is essential to select the right cart to reduce liability and fines from leakage and contamination. Instead, look for a cart design that features a molded-in, sealed stop bar so waste doesn’t ooze out and pollute the environment. This style will eliminate contamination concerns and possible fines.

Get Started

When customers have tough, strong carts that are built for heavy, wet organics material, it is a win-win solution.

It’s best to invest in an organics cart with:

  • a load rating that exceeds ANSI standards to eliminate safety risks
  • a rotationally molded body to avoid cracking and odor issues
  • a molded-in sealed stop bar design to prevent leakage and contamination

There are many ways to incorporate these cart features into the purchasing process to help cities limit liability, address customer needs, and save money.

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About NJPA

Sourcewell (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance) is a self-supporting government organization, partnering with education, government, and nonprofits to boost student and community success. Created in 1978 as one of Minnesota’s nine service cooperatives, we offer training and shared services to our central-Minnesota members. Throughout North America, we offer a cooperative purchasing program with over 200 awarded vendors on contract. Sourcewell is driven by service and the ability to strategically reinvest in member communities.