Dumpster vs dumpster

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Dumpster is the name, for North America (including both United States and Canada), for a large metal container for trash. Outside the United States the receptacle is called either a skip or a front load container.

This term was created by a business for their specialized containers that let a truck empty them without any manual labor required. The name was formed from the word dump, the place were all trash is taken.

For years the word was so popular that all containers were called Dumpsters, but the word remained capitalized, like Kleenex and Velcro, because the trademark patent protected the spelling legally. Since at least 2014, the patent expired and the term is no longer legally required to be capitalized. Still, some dictionaries have not updated their listings, and some readers may have not kept up with expiring patents and may be ready to contest your spelling.

Outside of the United States the lowercase spelling is already more common and shouldn’t pose as much of an issue.


Newport News authorities are investigating a string of dumpster fires that occurred in April. [The Washington Post]

Miscommunication caused dumpsters not to be placed throughout Etowah County for a clean-up day, so a make-up day has been scheduled for 7 a.m. to noon Saturday. [The Gadsden Times]

With permanent public spaces costing upwards of $100,000 to create, a Melbourne-based not-for-profit group have taken the humble skip bin and turned into a makeshift park for people to eat, socialise and play in. [Daily Mail]