Self-Dumping Hoppers: Everything You Need To Know [plus 7 ideal applications for them]

If you are a plant owner, site manager, or oversee the manufacturing floor you’re already aware that efficiency is integral to running a successful business or job site. 

However, if you’ve been trying very long, you know it's not easy to achieve 100% efficiency. In fact, it’s much easier to waste time and space than it is to use it wisely! 

One common obstacle that’s difficult to overcome is the efficient collection, movement, and disposal of scrap and trash, which makes working difficult. 

At Iron Bull Manufacturing, we understand the struggle, and we want to make it easier for you. 

We’ve put our years of experience to the test so we could write this article. We’ll help you understand self-dumping hoppers and give ideas for how you can use them to save time and space for your business. 

Let’s get started! 

Table of Contents

  • Self-Dumping Hoppers: Everything You Need To Know [plus 7 ideal applications for them] 1 self-dumping hoppers

    1. What Is A Self-Dumping Hopper?

  • Self-Dumping Hoppers: Everything You Need To Know [plus 7 ideal applications for them] 2 self-dumping hoppers

    2. Advantages Of a Self-Dumping Hopper

  • 3

    3. Seven Ideal Uses For A Self-Dumping Hopper

  • Self-Dumping Hoppers: Everything You Need To Know [plus 7 ideal applications for them] 3 self-dumping hoppers

    4. The Iron Bull Advantage

What Is A Self Dumping Hopper?


Self-dumping hoppers are sometimes referred to as “self-dumping dumpsters” because their primary purpose is to collect trash and scrap, similar to a standard dumpster. They are also sometimes called forklift dumpsters. 

However, self-dumping hoppers are a little different from regular dumpsters and have a more efficient design and use. 

Why are they so much more efficient than dumpsters? 

As the name suggests, self-dumping hoppers are easy to dump. 

Self-dumping hoppers are designed to allow forklifts and other equipment with fork attachments to dump materials and scrap without any other motors or pulleys being needed. That way you can easily collect the scrap in your shop and dump it efficiently. 

self dumping hoppers work with forklifts

These hoppers have a release latch on them, allowing them to be quickly dumped and emptied.  Once you dump the load, the hopper closes on its own, and the release latch locks again.

Some hoppers even come equipped with a dump-from-seat option so you don’t even have to leave the operating machine to dump the hopper. 

It’s as easy as that! 

Because of their ease of getting rid of trash and other scraps, they are also commonly referred to as “trash hoppers” or “scrap hoppers.” Another perk of that easy dump-from-seat option is that it is much safer for the operator. 

But what if you need to use a self-dumping hopper in an off-road area where a forklift (or anything with forks) can’t travel? 

Don’t worry! 

At Iron Bull, we offer a skid steer quick attachment on most of our self-dumping hopper models. This allows you to take your hopper more places. 

Employee happiness is key in the workplace

Beyond their time-saving disposal systems, self-dumping hoppers also come in various applications so you can get something that really works for your business. 

If you need to free up some space in an area crowded with long materials, you could try a stretch hopper. Or, perhaps you need a hopper that can fit in tight spaces or under workbenches. In that case, you should try a low-profile hopper or a bottom dumping hopper. 

At Iron Bull Manufacturing, we even offer custom-designed hoppers so you can get the hopper that is the right size and design to fit the needs you have at your business. 

Whatever your need, self-dumping trash and scrap hoppers help you create a safer workplace, cleaner shop floors, happier employees, and a more efficient manufacturing plant, shop, or construction site. 

Advantages Of A Self-Dumping Hopper

Now we know what a self-dumping hopper is and how it could help you save time and effort when disposing of your trash. 

But are there more advantages to utilizing a self-dumping hopper? 


Let’s take a look at a few of the advantages self-dumping hoppers can bring to your business: 


Increased Workplace Efficiency

We’ve already discussed this topic to some extent, but let’s dig in a little deeper. 

Here's what you can do with a self-dumping hopper:

  • You can take out one large load in your self-dumping hopper instead of several smaller loads from trashcans or small trash bins.
  • Employees have more time and energy to focus on their essential tasks instead of worrying about cleaning up or emptying the trash. 
  • Efficient storage of trash cuts down on clutter. This reduces wasted motion and minimizes frustration about junk laying everywhere. 
  • Streamline and simplify your workflow by using hoppers to load and unload materials - not just scraps. Stretch hoppers are especially useful in quickly moving bulk or long products used in a shop. 

Here's the bottom line: The business owner and manager are happy because they know that time is money. Even several minutes saved a day add up over time and increase their profits.

But it's not just the top-level people that are happy.

Employees are also more satisfied because they don't have to deal with clutter keeping them from their tasks. Not only are they more competent, but they also have more brain space and less mental stress because their workspace is neat and organized.

self dumping hoppers increase efficiency


If you really want to research ways to increase the efficiency of your shop or manufacturing plant, read our blog: 7 Types of Waste In Lean Manufacturing & How To Reduce Them


Built To Last

Iron Bull’s self-dumping hoppers are made with high-gauge steel to ensure their durability and longevity. 

Beyond that, our hoppers have welded reinforcing angles around the top and welded gussets on the front corners. 

Add it all together, and you have hoppers that endure rugged, daily abuse and withstand wear in the harshest environments. 


Cleaner and Safer Shops

Can you imagine a house without any trash cans?

Or maybe the house has trash cans, but every time you want to dispose of something, you have to go to the garage, get your screwdriver, and unscrew the trash can lid. 

It wouldn’t be long before trash would start accumulating on counters, floors, under the couch, and everywhere else, right? Nobody would want to go to clean anything up because it would take so much effort to dispose of it. 

The result would be a reeking house that is also cluttered, and very frustrating to live in. 

The same is true in a manufacturing plant or shop that doesn’t have a good way to get rid of scrap - except the stakes are even higher. 

A cluttered workspace isn’t just messy - it’s also dangerous. Scraps of wood laying on the floor can trip people up, and exposed metal scraps are downright vicious. All it takes is one wrong move in a cluttered shop, and an accident could occur. 

A cluttered workspace is dangerous

Thankfully, self-dumping hoppers make scrap storage easy so you can keep your work area clean and safe. 

It's also proven that clutter increases stress, which is something you would rather avoid at your workplace. By using trash hoppers and keeping your space clean you can help your employees with mental health.

If that's not enough, self-dumping hoppers help you meet workplace safety guidelines required by The United States Department of Labor (OSHA). It’s a win-win!  

Happier Workers

One of the most important things to consider when investing in any kind of industrial equipment is your employees’ satisfaction. Happy employees are more productive and stay longer than unhappy employees. 

Take it from us: disgruntled employees are bound to try to get by with the bare minimum. They won't have the will to give their best in helping a business succeed. 

On the other hand, employees that are content and fulfilled at the workplace stick with you for the long haul and add value to a company. In fact, happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. 

While purchasing a self-dumping hopper doesn’t guarantee employee satisfaction, it does help. After all, when workers feel successful and safe, the chances of them being satisfied dramatically increase.  

Employee happiness is key in the workplace

Uses For A Self-Dumping Hopper

This is where the rubber meets the road. Self-dumping hoppers may have a myriad of benefits, but if you can't utilize a hopper at your place of business, you won't reap the rewards. 

However, most manufacturing plants, shops, and construction sites can utilize self-dumping hoppers to help their business run smoothly. 

Let’s take a look at a few practical uses for hoppers in the workplace: 


Manufacturing Plants

If you own a manufacturing plant, a self-dumping hopper is guaranteed to benefit your company. 

In fact, most people agree that increasing production efficiency is essential to running a successful manufacturing business. 

Here’s a true story about one manufacturing business that used self-dumping hoppers to give their business an edge: 

In early 2014, a large RV manufacturer in Nappanee, Indiana, issued a challenge to Iron Bull.

“Build an 8-1/2 ft. wide self-dumping hopper for long scrap, mounted on casters, and made to fit a height flush or slightly lower than their table saws.”


The manager saw a way to eliminate a small but unnecessary time-and-motion step for workers. He recognized it wasn’t necessary to pick up the scrap by hand to toss it up and over the side of the tall scrap container 6 feet away for every cut.

The result was a stretch hopper that allowed the RV manufacturer to save time, motion, and money.  

And self-dumping hoppers aren’t just for RV manufacturing plants!

Whether you manufacture windows, mini barns, or automotive parts, a self-dumping hopper helps you haul, store, and efficiently dump products. 

BONUS: Want to learn more about running an efficient manufacturing plant? Read our blog: 5 Lean Manufacturing Principles & 10 Tools You Need For Your Manufacturing Plant.


self dumping hoppers help store and dump waste

Large Wood Shops

Do you own a pallet shop? Or perhaps you build mobile homes? 

Either way, shops that work with wood produce tons of wood scrap and sawdust, which needs to be cleaned up. 

Hoppers like the sawdust hopper are incredibly useful in such scenarios. They hook up directly to your cyclone to dramatically reduce dust in the shop. They are also designed with a drop-bottom emptying system, which means you can maximize every inch of your shop. 

Low profile hoppers can also be useful in wood shops, since they can fit under table saws or other low pieces of equipment.

Some businesses like truss shops deal with extra long scraps of wood. 

How can you store and move long, unwieldy pieces of wood like that? 

A stretch hopper might be the answer for you. Stretch hoppers can be manufactured to have both ends open so that long scraps can be stored and hauled in them. 

Self-dumping hoppers are also designed to make wood scraps lay flat in them. This may seem inconsequential, but when wood scraps don’t lay flat they “bridge” or become a web.  The result of bridging is that you can't fit as much in the dumpster.  

Furniture Shops

One of the significant advantages of self-dumping hoppers is their versatility. 

The owner of a manufacturing plant can purchase a huge hopper designed for rugged use. But hoppers can also be used in small, tight spaces for storing tiny scraps of wood.

Furniture shops are a perfect example of this. If you make kitchen or office furniture or own a home decor shop, you know that you create a lot of small wood trash.

The problem is that your shop might be small, with no room for a large hopper or even space for a forklift. 

Thankfully, there are self-dumping hoppers for you. The low-profile hopper is designed to fit under work tables so it is accessible and saves space.  If you have a need that no type of hopper fits, you can even design a completely custom hopper to fit your unique need! 

Beyond that, it can be moved with a pallet jack so you don’t have to have space for a forklift in your shop.

low profile hoppers fit in small spaces

Construction Sites

If you’ve ever torn off an old roof, remodeled a home, or even built a new house, you know that construction sites accumulate a lot of junk. 

Unfortunately, the trash usually ends up on a big pile in the yard or a large dumpster. Here’s the problem with that: 

Trash piles in the yard have to get picked back up and moved again, to be disposed of. Why move trash twice? That is a waste of time. 

And if you are using a roll-off dumpster, you probably want it close to the construction site so you don’t have to carry waste too far. Unfortunately, that means the dumpster is going to be in the way of construction machinery.  

With a self-dumping hopper, you can easily gather and store waste, then dump it into a larger dumpster located further away from the actual work zone. 

self dumping hoppers transport waste

One obstacle is that most construction sites don’t have forklifts sitting around. But remember - hoppers can be moved by anything that has forks. That’s good news because most construction sites do have a skid steer or telehandler that can quickly move any hopper in use. 

On a job site where you have minimal trash, you might even use a pickup & trailer hopper. These are hoppers that fit on a pickup or dump trailer, saving you the cost of renting a roll-off dumpster. 

But it gets better: 

At Iron Bull, we’ve created a specialty self-dumping hopper that converts into a man lift platform in a matter of minutes! 



Large hoppers are extremely useful in lumberyards for transporting and storing large wood scraps. 

In fact, lumberyards often have so much extra scrap wood that they allow individuals to split and gather the scraps for personal use. 

Even if that is the case at your lumberyard, you still need a good way to store and move wood - whether it’s scraps or valuable materials. 

And if you do have people stopping in to buy firewood from you, you might consider using a firewood hopper - a specialty hopper designed to put firewood on the bed of a pickup truck. 

Metal Scrap

Allowing pieces of metal trash to lay around is very dangerous. Metal waste is often sharp - easily deadly enough to gash a head or puncture a foot. You don't want that laying around your shop! 

The less scrap metal you have cluttering your space, the better. And if you can avoid handling the metal by hand, that’s even more preferable. 

Why metal scrap is a problem

Metal materials are also quite heavy, so having equipment to move them around is essential. 

Thankfully, self-dumping hoppers help you accomplish both of these things. 

Just make sure you choose a hopper built with extra thick steel if you are using it to store metal scraps and move metal materials. After all, whichever container stores metal is going to take quite a beating. 

Metal CNC Machining

Metal CNC shops pose a unique challenge to storing and disposing of waste: 

What can you do with the oil you use in your CNC milling, drilling, or grinding operation? Should you just put it in a dumpster with the rest of the scrap from your shop? 

Unfortunately, that’s not an option. 

Disposing of propane tanks, fuels, oils, and other flammable materials in a dumpster is a serious safety hazard. That’s why putting oil in a dumpster is illegal in most areas. But how are you supposed to separate the oil drippings out of your scrap? 

Disposing fuel in a dumpster is illegal

Thankfully, self-dumping hoppers help you easily fix this problem. 

With a fluid reclaim hopper, you can store and transfer scarp without worrying about oil, water, or other liquids also being emptied into the hopper. 

It's simple: 

The fluid reclaim hopper allows you to quickly drain any liquid before you dump the hopper into a dumpster. You can get rid of your scrap without worrying about breaking any laws! 

4. The Iron Bull Advantage

By now you understand the importance of incorporating self-dumping hoppers into your business. Beyond that, you have some good ideas of which self-dumping hopper types could be useful for people who work in your industry. 

But as you know, not all services and products are created equal. That’s why most people do careful research before hiring an electrician or landscaper, for example. 

At Iron Bull, we know how important it is to find a business you can trust when making a purchase. That’s why we focus 100% of our energy on having our customers walk out the door completely satisfied. 

Here is our guarantee when you work with Iron Bull as your self-dumping hopper provider

 Unparalleled Customer Service: We always make sure you interact with real humans who are experts in their field. We also offer custom hopper options so you can get precisely what you need for your space.

Quick Response and Shipping: Our Quick Ship program offers a variety of hopper size options and guarantees shipping within 48 hours. 

Strong and Durable Hoppers: We’ve done extensive research and taken the strong points of other hoppers and put them into a single package for maximum durability.

    • Wrap around lip on back corners
    • Welded reinforcing angle around the top edge
    • Side of hopper extending down past the bottom and welded solid
    • Welded gussets on inside front corners

Custom Dumping Options: We offer a variety of dumping options: 

    • Standard: Hand lever located on the hopper.
    • Optional:  Dump-from-seat, which is a nylon leash that extends and retracts as needed.  It has a magnetic clipping kit for easy transfer to and from a forklift.
    • Optional:  Automatic push-and-dump has a latch that can be gently pushed against a dumpster and activates the dumping action.
The Iron Bull advantage


We hope you found this article helpful, whether or not you choose Iron Bull as your next hopper provider. 

We know how important efficiency, safety, and employee satisfaction are to your business, and we want to help you achieve that - no matter what. 

If you are interested in working with Iron Bull, we’d be delighted to assist you and we will make the process as easy as we can. Send us a message on our website for more information, or get a quote so you can find out what it’s like to work with us. 

And we offer much more than just trash hoppers.

We also provide a variety of tractor shade canopies, including:

We look forward to hearing from you!