The History of Dumpsters

The idea of storing garbage in dumpsters is straightforward and something we often take for granted. As such, many people don’t realize that the history of dumpsters contains different key moments.

Initial Origins


The word dumpster originates from the man who invented the object—George Dempster. He realized the need to store solid waste, particularly from construction sites. In 1935, the Dempster-Dumpster became the first large, portable dumpster bin. This eliminated the need for sanitation workers to shovel dirt, garbage, and other debris into a flatbed. It also eliminated the need for a driver to leave the truck and physically haul the dumpster to a landfill. At this point, just one truck could empty several dumpsters in between trips to the disposal location. Dumpsters also reduced the amount of labor necessary to move debris by 75 percent.

Roll-Off Dumpsters vs. Roll-Off Containers


The invention of this dumpster inspired other dumpster designs, such as roll-off containers and roll-off dumpsters. The difference between the two is that roll-off containers use a cable hoist to pull a dumpster onto a truck. A roll-off dumpster uses teeth in between the rails, and the system’s double-acting cylinder allows the container onto docks at frame level without the need for gravity. In fact, George Dempster was also one of the roll-off dumpster inventors. Meanwhile, roll-off containers became very popular in the scrap metal industry.

Dumpster Popularity Takes Off


From that point, dumpsters ended up supplying various equipment, such as hydraulic crushers and pontoons. Large organizations such as the U.S. Navy also began to use them. As others saw the demand skyrocket for the product, many sought to design other types of dumpsters; however, none have had the type of impact that Dempster’s inventions had.

Of course, today dumpsters have expanded to several new types and applications. Many restaurants carry small front-loading dumpsters, and large roll-off dumpsters feature their own compacting system. So, the next time you see a dumpster, you can thank George Dempster for creating the object that has revolutionized waste management, even all these years later.

Dumpster Rentals for Your Commercial or Residential Project


Century Waste Management carries a variety of roll-off dumpsters to make your home renovation project easier. From 10- to 40-yard roll-off dumpsters, we’ve got you covered. View our dumpsters here.     

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