What to do with a Frozen Garbage Bin Lid?

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It’s January 2017, and as always the New Year finds us right in the middle of winter here in Canada. Even the folks out West are experiencing sub-zero temperatures. Folks east of BC will likely already be aware of most of what there is to know about taking out the trash when it’s freezing outdoors, but let’s have a look at one of the most common problems homeowners encounter from December to March when it comes to trash disposal in wintertime.

Trash bin lids that are frozen shut.

This of course can be problematic on a pair of levels; A) you can’t open the bin to add additional trash, and B) you’re passing on that same problem to the municipal collection workers when you take it to the curb just as frozen as it was aside your garage.

Compounding the problem is that most bins are made from impact plastic, which is a great choice given the rough n’ tumble nature of their working lives but doesn’t do much for resisting ice build up. This is particularly true on the one area of the bin that extends horizontally from the side of it.

Even if the lid lip extends only an inch or so away horizontally from the bin itself, it still becomes that most natural place for moisture and or melted precipitation to come to rest and then freeze, affixing your lid to the bin itself and – unless you go to some effort (see below) – making it quite a challenge to open the bin.

Opening a frozen bin lid

The smart choice here is to be proactive. If you can, bring your bin into your garage for a short period of time and have the warmer temperature degrade the solidity of the ice. If it’s only for a short period of time your existing waste in the bin should stay relatively frozen too and not become odorous. Once you can pry it open, enter your waste and then consider one of the preventative tips offered below.

If that’s not to your liking, there is always the pry option with a crowbar or similar implement, but be aware that your risk damaging the lid.

Another one that we’ve heard of but is similarly risky is the compression method. You apply solid and weighty pressure against one LONG side of the bin while having the opposite side up against a wall. Slow consistent pressure can break the frozen seal and pop the lid free, but again use judgment and keep in mind the preventative tips listed below are a much better choice when it comes to preventing garbage can lids from getting frozen shut.

Skip the Hassle

As stated, it’s really best to just take a few simple preventative measures to keep your garbage bins from being frozen shut. Here’s the simplest and best of them, and one that pretty much anyone can do with minimal effort or expense.

Find yourself on old, dilapidated fairly large blanket that’s made of a reasonably thick material that you no longer have use for around the house. If it was likely to be on its way into the garbage before long anyways – even better!

Take it outside and simply drape it over the top of your bins, ensuring that it falls over the entirety of lid of each bin. Typically one twin bed blanket will be good to cover two standard size bins. Larger blanket? Cover 3 or maybe even 4 of them – but again you need to ensure the ENTIRE bin lid is covered on each of them, and more specifically the ‘lip’ we talked about earlier where the lid rests on the bin when closed.

This covering won’t keep your garbage warm in the face of a cold Canadian winter evening, but that’s not your aim – which is to keep the bin lid region warm enough to prevent it freezing shut, and which it should do most of the time.

As a last piece of advice, do NOT use hot water to unstuck a frozen lid, unless you like the thought of slipping on a patch of ice the next time your bring out the trash.

Here at Load n Lift we don’t see much of the standard trash bin, as we specialize in large-scale trash disposal in Colborne and Trenton and are just as reliable in wintertime as we are in the summer. Have trash you want gone? Give us a call!

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