Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tattler Product Review: The Trash Cans of Sierra Madre

"My wife is always trying to get rid of me. The other day she told me to put the garbage out. I said to her I already did. She told me to go and keep an eye on it." 
- Rodney Dangerfield 

We here at The Tattler decided that it is finally time to tackle a topic that is of interest to all the residents of this town, and that is the important matter of our city supplied trash cans. We live with them, they have an important place in our homes, we make frequent trips to visit with them, and two times every week we take a little time out to walk with them. All of which amounts to more time than many of us spend visiting with our parents. But how much do we really know about our these omnipresent items? And, more importantly, can they be considered true cans of quality?

First a little background information. The trash cans used here in Sierra Madre are manufactured in North Carolina by Toter Incorporated. Their slogan, "The World's Toughest Carts," would seem to indicate that they do not wish their trash and garden refuse receptacles to be referred to as "cans." With the proper terminology being "wheeled rollout refuse carts." My assumption here being that "can" evokes an earlier and less sophisticated time when trash receptacles were easily dented and noisy tin items with lids that never really fit. A comparison I suspect Toter finds demeaning and offensive. So I guess we need to can the "can" talk, right? 

Here is how this outfit describes itself on their website:

"Toter Incorporated is a manufacturer and marketer of high quality plastic containers and related products for residential, industrial, commercial and retail accounts. The Company has been in continuous operation since 1962, originally as a subsidiary of Rubbermaid Incorporated."

Seems humble enough, right? But as we read on we discover that Toter played a truly revolutionary role in the evolution of trash removal.

"Toter introduced the automated cart system in North America during the late 1960s, and Toter carts are the #1 selling brand today.

Fascinating. So each time we see a trash truck pick up our Toter rollout refuse carts with mighty steel arms and empty their contents into its cargo area, we are witnessing something first introduced by this very company. Think of how many millions of lives have been touched (and backs of garbage men saved) by what over 40 years ago was little more than a gleam in a Toter trash planner's eye.

I took some time to inspect my rollout refuse carts, and this is what I discovered. First it is requested on each of my 3 carts (trash, garden refuse, and recycling) to always keep the lid closed. This seems logical as we should always wish to keep trash and its odors in strict isolation. And there are important instructions on how to operate the carts as well:

- Always close lid before moving cart
- Close lid
- Grasp Handle
- Tilt cart
- Push or pull to roll
- Do not overload
- Handle with care on inclines or steps (runaway carts could be a hazard!)
- Do not drag cart
- Wash out periodically with water

All very common sense recommendations, but it is always good to hear positive things that reinforce our sense of what is right and proper in life.

So are they quality carts? I think so. My sky blue recycling cart lost its lid a while back, but still seems to be able to get the job done. My only real complaint would be the noise they make while being rolled to and from the curb. And especially the noise they make when my neighbors are rolling them around. One neighbor in particular does his trash ritual late in the evening, and during that traditionally quiet hour the noise can seem far louder than it would be at any other time. If somehow these wheeled rollout refuse carts could be equipped with rubber tires I think that not only would this problem be solved, but Toter could also achieve a kind of perfection that is so rare in life.


  1. According to Sir Eric,Sierra Madre is truly fortunate to have Toter rollout refuse carts.
    Doesn't anyone miss those old bent up tin garbage cans, dented with their little lids unable to fit anymore,lined up looking like tattered little tin soldiers, stinkin' to high heaven? Neither do I, hadn't thought of them in years.

  2. I feel a lot more comfortable with the term "wheeled rollout refuse cart." Nothing makes me feel worse than being caught using inappropriate terminology.

  3. These "wheeled rollout refuse carts" are very hard if not impossible for our older citizens to manage, especially if their property or street has any type of an incline. They carts even flip over when I am moving them around.

  4. One has to maintain balance and not be in a rush for successful transport of wheeled rollout refuse cart from home to curb.

  5. I'd hate to think the "perfection that is so rare in life" is something that can be achieved by a trash can yet bypasses most people.

  6. Sir, anyone who claims that is talking trash! Perfection deserveth that which is uncanny and not the treakle of the unwashed masses.


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