An overflowing humble office bin with extra waste

Explore 4 ways the Humble Office bin is misused

Introducing the humble office bin

 The humble office bin is one, if not the, most overlooked but hardest working pieces of office equipment. Sitting quietly in the corner or hidden under your desk just waiting to be filled with the daily offerings, the bin doesn’t stand out as an important tool….. until! your apple has been eaten, or coffee cup drained and there isn’t one around.

The humble bin can be manufactured out of many materials, from basic plastic (of various shapes and sizes) to wire baskets, open topped bins, bins with lids on, in fact some are not so humble at all in there appearance. But they still are often overlooked in there importance in the office environment.

Emptying the humble office bin is often the task most requested for an office cleaner. It seems like a simple task, but it can be the most time consuming – and yucky – job (and that includes cleaning the toilets). Here are a few reasons why;

1. The Overflowing Humble Office Bin

Many people seem to make it their life’s accomplishment to fill/overfill the office bin. With the skill of an engineer, I’ve seen amazing structures to hold all the waste in, so high and intricate, they reach the underside of the desk.

While looking like great feats of engineering, saving a few minutes out of your busy day by building up the waste structure and not emptying the bin does pose some problems.

Firstly the waste in the bin if left long enough will attract vermin, and  the annoying flies buzzing around often find a home in the tower of waste.

Secondly as the bin is dragged out for emptying, the tower and its contents crumble to the ground and the cleaners are left scrambling under your desk for the fallen items. Not nice when it is y

our week old half-eaten burrito, rotten apple core or the half empty cup of coffee slowly turning into cottage cheese.

Solution – Empty your bin! Don’t wait for the cleaner to do it – or at least empty it once it reaches the top or halfway – you’ll be amazed how much nicer your environment is and those annoying fruit flies that are waiting for your apple core will be a thing of the past. Or get a bigger bin, they even come in 240 litre size if you need!!!!

2. The Hidden Humble Office Bin

Hide and seek was a great game when we were younger. I know the office bin is very humble and likes to stay out of sight but unfortunately hunting for the bins during an office clean nightshift is not my idea of fun. I don’t carry a miner’s helmet, so pushing them wayyyyyy under your desk is a challenge I don’t look forward to.

Solution – leave your bins in the same spot each time the cleaner comes around. Pull any bins that need emptying from the dark recesses of the under-desk world! (we’re unlikely to find the ring here Mr Baggins)

3. The half-drunk drink bin or, The Curse of the office cleaner!

There are few things worse than emptying a bin and being showered in days-old coffee (see the overflow) – wearing a gelatinous gloop of coffee-smelling-off-milk is not a scent that soothes the soul. I could retire if I had a dollar for every time I’ve had to clean up half a can of coke or soft drink spilled across an office carpet as we try to frantically wrestle a leaking bin liner out of the building.

Solution – Can’t finish your coffee or soft drink? Take a break, walk around a bit and empty your drink down the sink. You could even put it in the recycling!

a humble office bin overflowing with cardboard boxes

4. The bottle/file bin

You’ve had a few beers after a hard day at the office and you decide to clean your workspace so it does not look like you are too much of an alcoholic. Placing all twenty bottles in the small bin with the thin plastic liner in is not the greatest of ideas. The plastic liner that the cleaner places in to protect the inside of the bin is designed to hold a small amount of paper and maybe a few discarded tissues and a coffee cup –  not 40 kilos of glass bottles!

This goes for the time when you need to empty the office filing system (I thought we were all paper free these days!!). The small humble bin under your desk is not deigned to carry a filing cabinets worth of long forgotten files.

Solution – place the bottles of files in the office recycling bin, or better still outside in the industrial bins that are better designed for a party/filing cabinet capacity. You may find getting out of your desk and spending a few moments walking to the industrial bins is fun as well as healthy…it’d save on the never used gym membership!!


Don’t get me wrong or think I’m a grumpy old man (well, I am, but it’s not cleaning that makes me grumpy!. ) Nothing gives me more joy than the satisfaction of a sparkling workplace and happy satisfied clients who have a hygienic, tidy space to work in. It’s part of my mission to empty your bins and I’m happy to do it, but keep these tips in mind and we can all get behind reducing bin-related problems.


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