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April 2018

Best practice: the office bin

Written by Nicole Horne
Workplace Hygiene

Many of us have stumbled across the sight of disgusting rubbish bins in the office. I’ve heard stories about rancid food in the bin attracting maggots (my heart, be still!) and all sorts of unpleasantries regarding desk bound bins.

Risks of rubbish bins not being emptied or cleaned regularly

Leaving bins unattended for too long can attract pests, and a pest problem can quickly escalate if not sorted out quickly. As I always say, prevention is better than cure. So before you are faced with permanent office guests that can actually cause damage to the office (rodents love chewing through cabling) and spread diseases, its best to empty those bins!

Other than the risk of attracting pests, food can start to rot in the office bin, creating further risk of germs and cross contamination. Bacterial diseases such as salmonella or staphylococcus food poisoning, as well as skin infections and gastroenteritis are just a few of the disease-causing bacteria that can harbour in an unclean office rubbish bin.

Other than the health risks, the odour of rotting food is very unpleasant and can also negatively impact co-workers. In a previous blog “Can smell really affect workplace productivity?” we discussed how smell can positively or negatively affect employees’ mood, performance and productivity levels. Malodours definitely do not contribute to an optimal working environment!

When it comes to the office bin, check out our infographic on do’s and don’ts of office bin hygiene:


Put an office bin hygiene schedule in place

To prevent the above risks, it is always a good idea to have a office bin removal schedule in place, and follow the activities suggested below on a daily basis:

  • Make sure that desk bins and bins in the kitchen are emptied every day.
  • Seal the used bin liner and dispose of it in outdoor bins. Be sure that outdoor bins are stored away from the building and with tight fitting lids to avoid attracting pests.
  • Thoroughly wipe the inside of the bin with a disinfectant and follow with a sanitising spray. Be sure to let the bin dry properly before fitting with a bin liner.
  • Use plastic bin liners to prevent food spillage and buildup from other residues coming in direct contact with the bin and providing the ideal breeding ground for germs.
  • Make sure that office bin liners are tightly pulled over the top of the bin and do not provide any openings or gaps that will provide an opportunity for discarded debris to gather at the bottom of the bin and fester.

We might not always think about it, but office bin hygiene plays an important role in overall office hygiene, especially when it comes to employee health and well being.

Follow a regular bin cleaning schedule and ensure you keep the do’s and don’ts in mind to ensure a happy and healthy workplace.

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Nicole Horne

Nicole Horne

Nicole is a Digital Marketing Executive at Rentokil Initial Hygiene in Johannesburg. A self-proclaimed germaphobe, her love for hygienic environments and curiosity of all things “beneath the surface” fuels her enthusiasm for writing about the impact of germs in the workplace. She is passionate about creating awareness and sharing her knowledge on the impact of good hygiene practices. Follow Nicole on Twitter and LinkedIn for updates on the the good, the bad and the germy.

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