What to Do With Trash Cans During Hurricanes? (Best Advice)

What to Do With Trash Cans During Hurricanes

Hurricane season can be a stressful and chaotic time for many people. One common concern is what to do with trash cans during a hurricane. With high winds and heavy rain, trash cans can easily be knocked over and cause additional damage.

The best way to protect your trash cans during a hurricane is to bring them inside or secure them to a sturdy object. This will prevent them from being knocked over and potentially causing damage to your property or your neighbors’ property.

Of course, before a storm, there’s a lot of preparation to do. So, to help you make sure you’ve thought of everything, we’ve put together this list of common items to check before a hurricane, as well as some tips on how to clean up after. 

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

Hurricanes are something we can typically prepare for in advance. That being said, storms do sometimes change direction and can affect areas that were initially supposed to be safe from the storm.
So, you should always be prepared for hurricanes and other types of storms. Here are three items you should always have prepared in a go bag in case you need to shelter in place or evacuate in cases of emergency:

1. First Aid Kit – Hopefully, you won’t need it, but you should always have an emergency medical kit available!

2. Bottled Water – In storms and other emergencies, safe bottled water is a must. 

3. Survival Kit – Contains everything you need for multiple days without food, water, or power. 

Preparing For a Storm

If you know a hurricane is heading for your area, you need to take the time to prepare properly. Now, there are some cases where you’ll need to evacuate the area, but for these purposes, let’s assume you’ll be riding out the storm at home. 

If you’ve got the time to prepare, you should do so. To start, how do you shield a trash can from high winds? You can either bring it inside or, if you’ve got a shed, that’ll also work. Many people choose to keep their trash in their garage, so that’s also an option. 

Did you know that wind speeds of over 30 miles per hour are enough to knock over your trash can? Even a small category one hurricane brings with it speeds over 70 MPH, so it’s no wonder small unsecured items, like trash cans, get blown away quickly during storms. 

Making Sure Trash is Secure

Hurricane response teams caution those that are in the path of a hurricane to secure loose items before the storm hits. One of the biggest things they worry about is trash. Hurricanes bring with them lots of wind, and storm debris is a given.

Mixing storm debris with household trash from people that didn’t bother to secure their trash cans just adds to the mess after a storm and can delay clean-up efforts. Therefore, you should always secure your trash can before a storm.

We’ve already mentioned bringing your trash inside, but what if that isn’t an option? Well, if your trash must stay outside, consider tying it down. You can add D rings to the side of your house, then use bungee cords to keep them in place.

If that’s also not an option, add weight to your trash cans to keep them in place. For example, you can place heavy stones, pavers, or concrete blocks at the bottom of the can or on the lid to keep them in place. 

Lastly, consider building your trash cans a makeshift shelter out of spare wood or even concrete blocks. This will help block the wind and keep your trash can in place. In the future, it’ll also help keep animals out!

Other Items that Need Securing

You know to secure your trash cans, but what other outdoor items need to be secured before a hurricane? Make sure you bring inside or secure these other common outdoor features before a big storm:

  • Patio Furniture
  • Kids Toys
  • Firepits
  • Grills
  • Propane Tanks
  • Potted Plants
  • Bicycles

You should also check on the things you can’t bring inside, such as tree branches that need trimming, check your gutters and drains for clogs, and check on your sump pump to ensure it’s working properly. You may also want to buy an extra battery or power supply, just in case. 

Securing VS. Bringing Items Inside

The best way to prepare your outdoor items before a hurricane is to bring everything you can inside. If you have a detached garage, shed, or other covered areas that can withstand strong winds, you can also store your thing there for the duration of the storm.

If you know that your area is prone to storms, you should consider building a more permanent solution to protect your trash can (and other outdoor objects) during a storm. This may mean building a shed or another shelter for your items. 

Keeping your items secure will not only prevent the trash from blowing around during a hurricane, but it can also help prevent animals from scavaging your trash cans. 

Plus, if you build the shed large enough, it can protect your recycling from blowing away and keep your trash from blowing over in the wind.

After the Storm – Clean Up

No matter how good a job you do to secure your trash before a hurricane, odds are you’ll have debris in your yard after the storm. This debris is generally one of two types: actual garbage or storm debris. 

As you’re dealing with hurricane aftermath, be sure you’re staying safe and following the CDC’s recommendations. If your home was affected, use caution when re-entering. Check for mold and other common issues after a storm. If you or a family member were injured during the storm, be sure to get prompt medical attention. 

What to do with Trash after a Hurricane

After a storm, it can seem overwhelming trying to get your home in order. You can put your trash back out, but there are likely lots of downed branches, debris, and trash strewn about your lawn. Use caution picking up unfamiliar debris. Also, stay away from downed power lines, as they may still be live.

When you’re ready to start cleaning up, you should only pick up items with protective gloves on. Also, use caution walking around your yard, as storm debris often includes broken glass and loose nails, which can harm you if stepped on.

Any household trash and everyday items can be bagged and put on the curb in their usual trash cans. However, debris from the storm, such as fencing, downed tree limbs, carpet, appliances, furniture, etc., that don’t belong to you should be placed in a neat pile by the curb for separate pickup.

Don’t get distressed if these piles aren’t collected quickly after a storm. Storm cleanup often takes weeks, not days. 

Final Thoughts

There are many things to worry about before a hurricane. While you’re prepping your home for the storm, be sure to take a couple of minutes to think about what to do with your trash. It may seem inconsequential compared to other prep work, but it can save you lots of work in the aftermath.

If you can, the best thing to do is to bring your trash cans inside or at least store them in a garage or shed until after the storm. If that’s not possible, tie them down and keep them as empty as possible, so they don’t spread more debris during the storm. 

Remember, if there is a hurricane coming towards you, listen to the news reports, follow evacuation protocols, or shelter in place if necessary. Do not go out in the storm; stay away from moving water, and be prepared.

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