If you thought you could put anything—and everything—into a dumpster, think again.
Most cities and towns have strict regulations about what you can put into a dumpster and how it must be disposed of, and there are a few things that you cannot place in a dumpster at all.
Here are a few of the most common problem items:
- In many states and cities, tires (regardless of type) are not accepted by the landfill. Contact your local municipality, or talk to a waste management specialist in your area to discuss your options.
- Mattresses and box springs. In most cities and regions, you cannot place these types of item in rolloff dumpsters. There are usually instructions available for how to place them on the sidewalk and to arrange for pickup.
- Batteries. Batteries, particularly car batteries, usually contain lead acid, and that can be highly caustic and dangerous. Batteries should always be disposed of with great care.
- Railroad ties. Railroad ties are usually creosote-treated wood, and creosote is a dangerous chemical that can leach into the ground. If you need to dispose of railroad ties, make sure you contact the authorities and find out where you can take them.
- Wood. Generally, most waste wood is treated, and treated wood can be dangerous. All wood products, including old fences, sheds, and porches and so on need to be disposed of in special dumping areas. Contact the local authorities to discuss your options.
- Motor oil. Most municipalities have specific drop off points for used motor oil. Make sure you dispose of yours correctly!
- Paint, stain, varnish and similar products. These types of product can include dangerous chemicals, and they must be disposed of carefully, according to EPA regulations.
- Remodeling debris, including sheet rock, windows, glass and carpet.
- Roofing materials, including shingles.
- Ink and resin. Depending on your local municipal regulations, these items may not be allowed in your dumpster. This also includes printer and toner cartridges from printers.
- Contaminated materials. These are materials that have come into contact with human or animal bodily fluids, and which may be carrying a pathogen.
- Flammable equipment. Propane tanks, acid or gasoline, as well as adhesives, all of which could start a fire or explode.
- Household garbage, which should be disposed of in your regular garbage can via curbside collection.
Why Are These Items Prohibited in Dumpsters?
In most cases, items are prohibited in dumpsters either because they are generally recycled (as in the case of tires and furniture items) or because they could contain dangerous chemicals that need to be disposed of correctly, outside of city landfills.
What Do I Do with Those Items?
If you have any items on this list, or anything else that you are unsure of, contact the local authorities to check what the regulations for your area are. Also, remember that sometimes, you need to separate different kinds of waste into different dumpsters. Discuss this with the authorities, or ask a waste management for assistance and guidance.