Published: February 26, 2020

What you can and cannot put into a dumpster?

What you can and cannot put into a dumpster?

The one common thing you have while remodeling and moving houses is a massive list of unwanted items you need to get rid of. This is when a dumpster proves most useful, and there are permits to get one.

However, more than a permit, you need to know just what you can and cannot put into it. There are many rules about what you can and cannot throw into municipal trash receptacles.

Throwing some things like whole tires or hazardous materials is illegal and can lead to a fine. There’s also the risk of breaking your rental contract if you dump certain things in it.

The easiest way to find out what is permitted is by checking the item’s warning labels. You can alternately ask your dumpster rental company for details.

Labels with a poison, chemical, or biohazard symbol mean the item has to be disposed of based on the instructions. In short, it’s better to brush up your knowledge of trash receptacle rules before throwing anything in it.

What to throw into dumpsters?

Household waste

There’s no harm in throwing everyday nonhazardous household items like clothes, housewares, and personal items into the trash. However, toxic or corrosive waste, or waste that catches fire, reacts and explodes in certain circumstances are hazardous.

Appliances and electronics

Unless otherwise stated, most appliances like microwaves and washers are accepted. However, there’s an important caveat to remember.

Drain all harmful fluids and components like the Freon in refrigerators before disposing. Hire professionals to haul them away if you won’t be draining them.

About electronics, it’s okay to throw personal electronics in trash receptacles in most areas. However if you have lots of electronics to get rid of like in an office, then it’s better to recycle them into e-waste.

Wooden furniture

You can throw wooden furniture like wooden chairs, cabinets, shelves, tables, and other furniture items in them. However, check with local rules about upholstered pieces like couches and armchairs because each place has its statutes.

Yard debris

It’s usually okay to throw yard debris into dumpsters. However, some places may only let you dispose of a few bags of leaves and not stumps. Other locations may even let you dispose of bush trimmings, shrubs, and tree limbs.

Construction and home remodeling debris

You can also get rid of most debris like lumbar, flooring, cabinets, and siding while remodeling. However, if you have to get rid of asphalt, concrete, or brick, it’s better to hire reinforced trash receptacles designed to carry heavy materials.

Aerosol cans

It’s safe to throw only empty aerosol cans like hairspray and non-stick cooking spray. However don’t throw even partially full cans because they can explode.

What not to throw into dumpsters

There are various things you cannot dispose of in a garbage receptacle, basically items that pose a health hazard or can contaminate the environment.

Hazardous waste

Dispose of all types of hazardous materials like automotive fluids, pesticides, motor oil, asbestos, etc. professionally.

Household cleaning fluids

While the empty cleaning supply bottles can be recycled, don’t dump its solutions into dumpsters. Follow the specific disposal instructions to get rid of the household cleaning fluid. However, it’s safe to pour down laundry and dish detergent into the drain with running water.


Do not throw epoxy, glue, and other adhesives into the receptacles because they can bind debris to its walls.

Contaminated soils

Contaminated soil and mulch cannot be thrown into dumpsters because it’s hazardous.

Hot water tanks

You most probably will get rid of a hot water tank when replacing it with a new one. If yes, have the person delivering the new unit to pick up the old one. Its risky throwing hot water tanks into junk receptacles because the hollow inside can collect harmful gases, and explode.

Ink and resins

Printer or pen inks and resins aren’t allowed in the receptacles because they can damage and stain equipment. It’s better recycled.

Infectious medical waste

It includes any material used medicinally or in contact with body fluids. Examples are dialysis waste, old or unused drugs, used needles and sharps, hospital blood bags, fabrics soaked with human blood, and animal body parts.

However, bandages and tools used for treating injuries without a doctor’s help aren’t considered medical infectious waste.

Oils and fuels

Flammable material cannot be thrown into trash receptacles because it’s a serious safety risk and illegal in most places.

Whole tires

Whole tires aren’t dumped into landfills because its hollow space can trap methane gases when buried with other garbage. Methane gas pushes aside other waste to makes the tire ‘float’ to the surface, and ends up polluting the environment. Instead, take old tires to an auto parts store or tire recycler to make rubber mulch.

It’s now so much easier to safely get rid of all your waste because you know what you can and cannot throw into dumpsters!

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