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The construction of my new home is undergoing now, but I am facing a problem - piling up of trash and unnecessary materials left over at each step of the development which I am moving to my garage. My garage is completely filled with trash. There is no space left in the garage to store the building materials. I am facing difficulty getting rid of it. If the garage was bigger, we could have stored all of our building materials there. So I'm confused about the disposal of this junk.

What are your thoughts on hiring a junk removal company in these situations?

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  • My trash company will take construction waste. I checked they said I just can't exceed 250 lbs. They provide me with a 64 gallon container and it holds a lot. If that's an option and you're not living there get two along with a recycling container and you can make a dent in it. – Platinum Goose May 19 at 0:47
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    You need to add your location, this varies tremendously from one country to another. – RedSonja May 19 at 5:59
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    I am facing difficulty getting rid of it. What difficulty? What is preventing you from disposing of the trash? Why are you hesitant to consider hiring a junk remover? The solution seems pretty straightforward here, so it would help to understand what is preventing you from doing it. – J... May 19 at 10:39
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    "What do we think..." is opinion based. As you can see there are a lot of opinions here. Without that, there is no question here at all. Please rephrase to ask an answerable question. – FreeMan May 19 at 12:18
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    Do you have anything other than standard construction waste (IE: Asbestos or similar "hazardous" material?) that won't fit into normal waste bins that can be rented? bigrentz.com/blog/types-of-dumpsters – WernerCD May 19 at 14:15
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In my part of the world hiring a refuse service is standard and almost unavoidable. We had 30 cubic yard dumpsters (steel containers) on all our jobsites which were often emptied or replaced multiple times during the course of construction. Your contractor should have handled that. (If you are your contractor, now you know. :) )

They aren't cheap, so pack carefully and within the rules. Separate anything which can be repurposed or recycled to help save this ailing planet (and costs).

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Here are a few options, depending on how DIY-savvy or actively involved you are in your project:

Rent a disposal bin

They are easily found on-line, under names or keywords such as "construction disposal", and "debris bins".

A "disposal bin" may be known as a "dumpster" in the US, or a "skip" in Australia.

You often pay for a drop-off & pick-up plus a monthly rate. Best to inquire with companies to find out the details, and add it all up based on how long you think your project goes, and how many pick-ups you'll need.

Also find out whether they charge by load (any trip), volume (full/half etc..) or weight (determined by a scale). If by load or volume, note that light debris is usually cheaper to dispose of personally at a landfill or transfer site where they weigh your vehicle upon entry and exit and charge for the difference.

Inquire with your local municipality if there are any restrictions as to where the bin can be placed (on your property, on the street ...) and for how long.

On-call removal

Pile it up in the garage or outside under a tarp, and have a junk removal company load it up as needed. Alternatively, rent a truck and do your own dump runs as needed.

Inquire with your local municipality and/or fire department as to any restrictions for piles of debris on your property. Beware that rain may destroy some of the piled materials to the point that they cannot be re-used or re-purposed, and rain can make the debris heavier which may imply a higher disposal cost.

Trailer

Purchase a new or used trailer and pile the debris and junk in it to complete your own runs to the dump. Keep it covered with a tarp. Inquire where the garbage transfer sites are, what their rates are (any minimum rates), and whether there is a surcharge for specific types of garbage. For instance, it is not uncommon to require drywall to be bagged according to very specific instructions, and to pay a small surcharge.

If you don't have a hitch, you can rent a car with a hitch for your disposal days.

Sell the trailer after your project is done, or keep it of course if you have the space and appreciate the all-round benefits it offers for projects and hobbies.

Reuse

In addition to any of the above choices, personally I like to salvage and reuse as much as I can.

This keeps valuable materials out of the dump, and it saves on costs and environmental impacts when materials are reused on site rather than transported to a dump, and then only later to be purchased new.

Lumber is an obvious choice, but some drywall in good condition can be re-used or re-purposed as acoustic insulation.

You can also make may people happy by offering your debris for free on-line (craigslist comes to mind). This is a great destination for windows, doors, cabinets, sinks and other finishings. You'll make some people very happy, and you'll keep it out of the dump.

Take a picture of an item, describe it with a few words, post it, and you'll know within 24hrs whether there is interest.

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    We went the trailer route. In fact I could not bear to part with it, it's still there and gets used a lot. We managed to give away a lot of the "refuse": the old roof tiles now grace a cowshed, the timbers are somebody's garage roof, the rubble is in a neighbour's terrace, the old roof windows are in a studio... There is a network of retired codgers for this, I love it. – RedSonja May 19 at 5:58
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    A "disposal bin" may be known as a "dumpster" in the US, or a "skip" in Australia. – Paul Price May 19 at 15:04
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    @RedSonja "I could not bear to part with it, it's still there and gets used a lot": my sentiments too, and I updated my answer accordingly. Thanks for chiming in. – P2000 May 19 at 17:08
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    Its a Skip in South Africa too. You hire one and they deliver it to your property for a couple days then remove it when it is full. – eipi May 19 at 20:38
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    Also (@PaulPrice) "skip" in the UK. – Chris H May 20 at 13:12
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Your regular trash company. Order construction dumpster.

First, if there was asbestos in the debris, you hire an asbestos remediation company to separate the asbestos out of the debris and haul it away.

You contact typically your normal trash company, or the local major dumpster services, and order a dumpster for construction debris. That is special, and you cannot simply put them in the normal trash, so you must tell the trash company that this will be construction debris. In fact if your regular trash company finds a bag or bin full of construction debris at the curbside, they will probably refuse it. A little bit mixed in with regular trash, they won't object to, but it would take a year to get rid of it that way.

The dumpster will either look like a normal squarish dumpster like you see in the backside of a small business (where you must heft everything over the edge)... or they also have "roll-off" dumpsters which have end doors and you can walk in. (with a step up). Note that the load/unload process for roll-offs is likely to mar your pavement.

They charge by the dumpster volume not by weight. So pack the dumpster as tight as you can. They have rules about mounding over the top. You need to follow them or they can't haul the dumpster away. Loads are required to be covered (if you've ever driven behind such a truck, you know why you want this) and the automatic-deploying covers on the truck won't work if the dumpster is overfull.

It pays to separate (recycle)

If you have a pile of a single type of debris -- all bricks and mortar; all smashed chunks of concrete; all dimensional lumber with nails in it -- that is called "clean" debris. Tell the company what you have - the rate will be favorable.

That's because (here's a secret) garbage companies do "post-consumer recycling", i.e. they go through your garbage trying to pick out recycling. At the very least, they use magnetic separators to go after iron, and eddy current separators to go after non-ferrous metals (which are more valuable than ferrous). Some places also use laborers to pick through the garbage stream for electronics, bottles, cardboard. (the blogger here doesn't realize this). This reduces volume (makes their licensed landfill last longer) and brings some coin. They would do the same with construction debris, but if it's already separated they'll give you credit for that.

You can also internally recycle. It's a "rite of passage" where I grew up to have construction nails in the ashes of your wood stove :)

With today's insane lumber prices, I wouldn't scrap any dimensional lumber, I'd put it right back into the new project if it's not damaged.

HGTV sets a very bad example here; they love the sledgehammer scenes where the TV host smashes the old work to bits, leaving nothing salvageable.

Watch who you hire

There are contractors you can pay to simply come and "make it go away". They range from full-service (e.g. ServPro) to "Man with a van" types. (you know, the rickety overstuffed pickup trucks you see running around).

Obviously, the strong financial incentive is for everyone to hire the shadiest, most irresponsible contractor who dumps it at some random roadside instead of paying a proper landfill. When the government catches them, say "not my fault". Well, the reason our roads don't all look like that is, the laws place the consequences squarely on your shoulders.

Of course you can also haul loads to the dump yourself; that may be the cheapest option. Call in advance to make sure they take construction debris

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  • Am I reading that penultimate paragraph correctly, that an individual can be held liable for the actions of a contractor? It's not clear to me how a homeowner could be held responsible if they hire a contractor to haul trash to the dump, but the contractor just dumps it on the side of the road instead. – Nuclear Hoagie May 21 at 13:27
  • @NuclearHoagie yes, this is brought to you by the phrases "perverse incentive" and "tragedy of the commons". – Harper - Reinstate Monica May 21 at 17:03
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This depends on the size of the haul. For small/DIY things, your city garbage pickup might offer a free service, just check if they handle construction debris. For medium/DIY, consider something like YellowSack. For large jobs (which sounds like what you have), look through Yelp or Nextdoor for a reputable hauling company and they will arrange for a dumpster to be onsite.

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If we're not talking about a lot of trash, consider something like a soft-side "dumpster". Waste Management has (in the US) widely advertised their "Bagster" brand (buy at a big box, fill, and then call for collection). The catch there is that trash collection is widely varied in many areas (Waste Management does not service 100% of the US) so it might not be available in your area.

My local municipal trash runs a regular "bulk trash" day I often use. Lets me take larger things that won't fit in my collection can.

Local landfills are the ultimate option, but be prepared to pay based on weight (and you get to haul it yourself).

A note on dumpsters: if you have a credit card this might be really easy. My mother (who lived in a rural area) needed to sell her house so I asked a relative (who did similar things) who could get me as dumpster. He gave me the name of a place in a nearby town. I called, provided my credit card over the phone, and they dropped a 5 cubic yard (dumpsters are in cubic yards in the US) dumpster next to the house. Family and I filled it over the weekend and then I called them Monday for pickup. They mailed me a receipt. Expect to pay based on weight (I needed a second 1.5 cubic yd and they refunded me the balance of my deposit after weighing the container).

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