Skip companies have varying rules of what can and can't be put into a skip. The majority of these are the same but may differ if they have the facilities to accommodate for specific items. These items are commonly queried but cannot be put into skips:
- Fluorescent lights
- Clinical/ medical waste
- Florescent tubes
- Hazardous/ toxic material
Why can't certain items be put into a skip?
The waste processing plant may not have the facilities to recycle or dispose of these items; they may be soiled meaning they are no longer suitable for use e.g. medical waste. There may also be no current demand for the end product of the recycled item, so no investment has been made into cheaper recycling methods. It can be more cost effective to make new products instead of recycling the old one. For example, television sets could be recycled, but because they have so many different elements, they are time-consuming and expensive to disassemble.
Why do people still choose to put these items into skips?
It mainly comes down to cost. Disposing of these non-recyclable items costs money that some people decide not to pay. Instead, they will illegally dispose of potentially dangerous items in skips or other places (fly tipping) and allow someone else to deal with the cleanup. This is a national issue which costs the UK taxpayer £36.4 million, and that is just the cost of clearing the contaminated site.
What happens if someone contaminates my hired skip with this type of waste?
This is a common problem with skips when left in driveways or roadsides overnight; people take advantage of a disposal opportunity.
If you notice that something has been put into your skip, especially if it's an item listed above, it's worthwhile trying to track down the owner of the item and informing the authorities. Contacting the skip hire company is also advisable as you may be charged an additional fee for removing the item. Although the dumped waste is not yours, you will be responsible for it because it is in your skip. To avoid this, prevention is better (and cheaper) than a cure; cover your skip at night to prevent any unwanted items being deposited in it. Even having domestic bin bags in your skip could cause you to be fined if you have declared the skip for building use only (i.e. rubble, bricks, dirt etc.).
If I want to dispose of these items, how can I do this?
Depending on your local council recycling arrangements, they may be able to collect these items from you for a fee. Otherwise, registered waste carriers will have to collect the waste and remove them whilst adhering to the guidelines set out by the Environment Agency.
What should I do if I'm not sure?
Skip hire companies should be able to give you help and advice on the best practices for removing different types of waste. You can call AMA Skip Hire who has friendly, experienced staff, and they will be able to advise you on the best and most cost-effective method of waste removal to fit your needs. Contact the AMA Waste Management team on 0845 4638 437 for more information.