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What Can Be Thrown Away in a Roll-Off Dumpster?

Kurt Anderson • 05/15/2022

A roll-off dumpster rental is a great way to manage trash at a residential or commercial project site and have it hauled away. However, it’s not a magic solution to getting rid of anything you might want to put in it.

Local, state, and sometimes federal laws place restrictions on the types of items you can put into a dumpster. Failure to follow those laws can be costly at the very least and may carry even worse consequences depending on the circumstances.

It’s essential, then, to know what you can and can’t throw away in a rental dumpster.

What You Can Throw Away

The good news is that most of the debris you want to get rid of is acceptable to put into a dumpster. Let’s look at some categories.

  • Appliances – Most household appliances are okay as long as any hazardous fluids (like freon) or components have been removed beforehand. This includes AC units, microwave ovens, washers, and refrigerators.
  • Construction and renovation debris – In addition to the above, that includes drywall, siding, etc.
  • Furniture – The only limiting factor here is really size. You can’t load a dumpster so that anything is above the top or hanging over the edges. If you’re doing a basement clean-out, for example, your 10-yard dumpster rental might not be enough to accommodate that ratty old sofa you want to get rid of on top of everything else.
  • Yard debris – Tree limbs, shrub trimmings, leaf bags, mulch, and soil are typical. Most of the time, stumps aren’t.
  • Household Junk – This consists of your everyday items around the house. Items such as kids’ toys, old or unnecessary items, and most other small to medium-sized items you may not need anymore.

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What about electronics?

This is an “it depends” one. TVs and computers may contain mercury or other harmful agents that can’t go into dumpsters. It’s best to check first.

If something fits inside the dumpster and doesn’t contain hazardous materials and the load stays under the weight limit, it’s okay.

What You Cannot Throw Away

In short, hazardous materials, which can cause environmental contamination or health risks to people, may not go into dumpsters. However, you might not know all the things that are and aren’t hazardous. What follows is a general list; particulars may vary by location.

  • Automotive products – such as car batteries, fluids, gasoline, motor oil, and tires.
  • Building and maintenance materials – such as non-latex paints, lacquers, and stains; adhesives, epoxy, and glue; asbestos; inks and resins; and refrigerants.
  • Dry-cell batteries – Take these to a store or facility that can recycle or properly dispose of them. Batteries can leak acids.
  • Home and office products – like cleaning products, aerosol cans that are partially full, bulbs containing mercury, mattresses, hot water tanks, and pharmaceuticals.
  • Lawn-care products or debris – such as pesticides, herbicides, and tree stumps. If you throw away an old lawnmower, make sure it has no gas or oil in it.
  • Miscellaneous – railroad ties, food waste, medical waste that can present a risk of infection or being a biohazard (used needles and bandages), flammable materials, refining, and chemical waste, and toxic, corrosive, or radioactive waste.

Again, please don’t consider this to be a fully comprehensive list. When planning to rent a dumpster, talk with the company first about what you’ll be looking to throw away so that they can make sure you know what is and isn’t allowed.

Consequences of Placing Forbidden Items in a Dumpster

So what happens if you do toss a forbidden item into your rental dumpster? What’s the big deal? What can happen?

First and hopefully foremost should be the concern about being a responsible neighbor and steward of the earth. Dangerous chemicals and other materials can put other people and the environment at risk, including the water we drink.

But beyond that, noncompliance can hit you hard in the wallet.

Say your dumpster rental company discovers that forbidden items are in the dumpster. They’re either going to have you remove them, extending your rental period, or remove them themselves (the former is more likely in order to protect their employees). That’s going to cost you more money either way.

Alternatively, the company may not discover the forbidden items until taking the trash to a landfill. In that case, they will incur extra disposal fees that they will pass on to you.

In the worst-case scenario, you could face heavy fines from regulatory agencies.

It pays in more ways than one to know what you can and can’t throw away in a rental dumpster. If you’re looking for a dumpster rental in Atlanta, GA, get in touch with Bin There Dump That for unbeatable service, value, and quality!

About The Author Kurt Anderson

We have provided clean and green dumpsters to the Metro Atlanta area since 2012 we take great pride in our family first approach. We have lived, grown, and raised our children here in Atlanta, and love being able to work in such a great community. Same-day dumpster delivery and 100% driveway protection are just a couple of the traits that separate this family-owned business from other dumpster providers in Atlanta!



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