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As of September 1st, the New York City Sanitation Department (DSNY) announced that it would begin fining restaurants and all other food-related businesses that do not use garbage cans designed to keep rodents out. The new rule is part of the city’s ongoing efforts to reduce its rat population, which is estimated to be in the millions. In this article, we explain the best kinds of trash cans to purchase for your foodservice establishment, to keep rats and other animals out of your waste.

Key Features of Rodent-Resistant Trash Cans

A rat imitates its favorite scene from The Shining.
“Here’s Johnny!” Rats are experts in finding a way in.

To keep rats away from your foodservice business, your trash cans must include a few key features.

Whether you are a restaurant, bodega, or grocery store, your trash cans should be made from durable materials. Rats have large, sharp, and continuously growing incisors in both their upper and lower jaws. Because rats incisors can easily gnaw through thin or weak materials, heavy-duty plastic or metal containers are a must.

Secondly, make sure your durable container has smooth, seamless interiors. Rats are tricky little critters and they aren’t afraid of hard work. So, it’s best not to give them any potential points of entry no matter how small that seam looks.

Example of a world class trash container - Brute by Rubbermaid.
This Brute Rollout Container by Rubbermaid Commercial serves as an excellent example of durability and security.

In light of the tireless determination and apt problem-solving skills that define city rats, it is crucial to purchase tight-fitting lids with locking mechanisms that require human dexterity to open. Rats have excellent dexterity with their front paws, allowing them to manipulate objects and solve problems.

Lastly, trash cans with elevated bottoms can prevent rats from burrowing into the can from below. Rats are skilled at finding weak points in the bottom of garbage cans, such as small holes, gaps, or damaged areas. The more layers of protection you can set up, the better.

Rat-Proofing Your Business

Image of rats climbing out of city waste receptacles.
The New York Sanitation Department created these fines to help control the rat population.

Maintaining rodent-resistant trash cans is an essential responsibility for restaurant owners in the city that never sleeps. However, keeping rats and other animals out of your trash and off your premises is important whether your establishment operates in NYC or not. It’s simply good business sense.

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