How to Dispose of Garbage: The Dos and Don’ts of Dumping

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In 2018, the U.S. generated 600 million tons of construction and demolition (C&D) debris, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That’s twice the amount of trash or garbage.

If you’re thinking about doing a major cleanout or maybe a remodeling project, you might be wondering, “Just what is the proper way to dispose of the garbage?” Learn what you can put in a dumpster and other important information about renting a dumpster.


Throw These In

Roll-off rental dumpsters can make disposing of garbage simple, but it is vital to follow the company’s and local municipalities’ regulations on what you throw in the dumpster. You can generally toss construction debris, and demolition materials in the dumpster. According to the EPA, these are specifically acceptable construction and demolition materials that you can dispose of:

  • Concrete
  • Wood (from buildings)
  • Asphalt (from roads and roofing shingles)
  • Gypsum (the main component of drywall)
  • Metals
  • Bricks
  • Glass
  • Plastics
  • Salvaged building components (doors, windows, and plumbing fixtures)
  • Trees, stumps, earth, and rock from clearing sites
  • Furniture

As you dispose of your material, consider what you can put in a dumpster, and what you can recycle. You want the landfill to be the last option. You can typically recycle demolition and construction materials. Tread, a construction digital platform company, suggests performing waste audits on the job site to ensure that materials are properly separated.

The Constructor suggests donating unwanted materials or reusing construction materials. Reusing can look like taking broken tools and scrap metals and fusing them together to form décor or tools. The EPA has a responsible appliance disposal program that has prevented 1.47 billion pounds of metals, plastic, and glass from going to landfills. Habitat for Humanity will also take old appliances.

Unsure what type and size of dumpster you need for your project? redbox+ lays out your options, so you can be sure your dumpster is never overflowing or underfilled.


Do NOT Throw These In

It’s just as important to know what you CAN’T throw in your roll-up rental dumpster. Following these guidelines will keep you from incurring any fees for prohibited items. These are common materials not allowed in dumpsters:

  • Flammable items
  • Toxic, hazardous or corrosive materials
  • Tires
  • Paints (even cans)
  • Motor oils
  • Asbestos
  • Batteries
  • Fuels


Disposing of Hazardous Waste

When disposing of garbage you will probably come across some hazardous materials. Those will almost never be allowed in roll-off rental dumpsters. For items containing mercury, do not remove the mercury — instead, label the items containing mercury and isolate them from other garbage. Lastly, take it to a mercury recycler or consolidation site. Check out the EPA’s list of state environmental agencies to find out more about where to safely dump demolition waste closest to you, including disposal of hazardous materials.

As for lead-based waste, collect all paint chips, dirt, and dust into a bag. Then, consult a local solid waste agency or your local government on how to safely dispose of it.

Asbestos is widely used for insulation, floor covering, shingles, roofs, and cement products in buildings and homes, and was especially prevalent in structures built before the 1970s. All new uses of the naturally occurring mineral, a known human carcinogen, were banned by the EPA in 1989. Any asbestos waste must be stored in leak-proof containers and disposed of at a licensed site.


Handle with Care

It’s always nice to have protocols in place for the dumping of garbage, but when that waste is hazardous, crews will want to handle it with care. Crews should wear protective clothing. That can include hard hats, safety goggles, dust masks, steel-toed or rubber boots, dust masks, heavy-duty gloves, ear plugs or muffs, and safety vests or shirts. If you’re doing the work yourself, you should follow similar guidelines.


Types of Dumpsters

Another component to consider when you’re looking to dispose of waste is what kind of waste it is. The answer can affect the type and size of the dumpster you get. There are different kinds, like roofing dumpsters and residential dumpsters. Roofing dumpsters are used for shingles, felt, lumber, nails, terra-cotta tiles, concrete tiles, slate tiles, and cedar shakes. In contrast, residential dumpsters can be used for decluttering, kitchen/bathroom remodels, flooring replacement, driveway and patio removal, demolition, disaster and storm cleanup, and landscaping.

Make sure you talk with your dumpster rental company to determine the size of the dumpster you need. You want to make sure you have the right size for all the debris without paying extra for unnecessary space.


Check List Before Renting a Dumpster

Before you’re ready to dispose of garbage from your project, you first have to prep your site for the heavy bin. If you have a homeowner’s association (HOA), make sure to check you’re allowed to have a large dumpster on your property. It would be unfortunate to pay for the delivery of one, only to be fined on top of it because it’s against the HOA.

Secondly, before ordering one, find other ways to dispose of unwanted items that you plan on trashing. For example, you can donate or sell old furniture or appliances. Doing this will allow you to get a smaller dumpster.

Lastly, assess your property before the dumpster is delivered. Most dumpsters are large, heavy steel containers. Avoid areas that could be damaged, such as wet soil or edges and corners of concrete driveways or pads.


Making it Easier

This is where Redbox+ comes in. It’s our mission to make the process of disposal easier. We can help bring you a roll-off dumpster with a fast truck dispatch, arriving within 24 hours of your order. And when you’re done, we’ll come to pick up the dumpster promptly. Click here to find a dumpster rental near you.



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