Home improvement season is upon us and garages by the thousands are being decluttered on these warm spring weekends. The best way to cart off junk is with a rented dumpster, but there are a few things to keep in mind in order to stay within the confines of the rules and sometimes the law when you use one.
General guidelines to what items are prohibited vary depending on location and provider, so it’s important to talk to your dumpster rental company to understand the lay of the land in your neck of the woods. A good dumpster provider will help you navigate state and local laws as well as help you find alternatives for waste that cannot go in a roll-off dumpster or your home garbage bin.
But to give you an overview of dumpster rental protocol, here is a list of the 8 most common items people are tempted to throw in a dumpster that you almost never can:
- Any waste item that is considered flammable, toxic, hazardous, or corrosive is strictly prohibited from being placed in any type of waste container, whether it’s your home garbage bin or a roll-off dumpster you rent for the job.
- Tires are never allowed in landfills in the United States even though 250 million of scrap tires are generated annually. Due to environmental concerns, they must go through a special tire recycling process in order to be disposed of.
- Paints: paints, lacquers, and even their cans sometimes contain harmful elements - mercury and lead are the most common culprits. Latex paint may be an exception to that rule, though typically it must be dumped out and mixed with something like kitty litter in order to be disposed of in a dumpster. Other kinds of paints, stains and finishes, including those from aerosol cans, are a no-no.
- Motor oils that are used in vehicles and industrial equipment are generally considered to be hazardous and cannot be put in dumpsters or garbage cans. This includes oil from home accessories like lawn mowers or chain saws.
- Asbestos – It was used for ceilings, roofing, flooring, insulation, fire retardancy and more, primarily in structures built before the late 1970s. But today, research has shown that asbestos is a highly dangerous mineral fiber that can cause all manner of lung illness. When dealing with possible asbestos, contact a professional home contractor because it is dangerous to handle and it cannot be disposed of in dumpsters.
- Batteries: This applies to any kind of batteries, but the most common offender is car batteries. The chemicals, metals, and corrosive materials in batteries can pose a serious threat, particularly car batteries, which have a lead-acid composition.
- Fuels: Petroleum and gasoline are highly flammable and for that reason alone, they are banned at landfills and, not surprisingly, in dumpsters. Unusable fuels can be disposed of at a local hazardous waste center.
- Appliances with Freon: Many appliances are welcomed in rental dumpsters, however, refrigerant appliances must be professionally rid of the Freon that produces the device’s cooling effect. Consider donating old appliances to a local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, where appliances are frequently recycled for low-income populations.
With any of these waste items, following rules and laws for disposal not only keeps garbage handlers safe and avoids serious problems when dumpsters are returned, but they also promote environmental stewardship which, particularly in today’s Green society, is necessary for the planet.