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A Guide to What Can and Can't Go Into A Dumpster

What is put into a roll-off container can greatly change the price you pay. You can throw most things into a dumpster, but there are some materials that are regulated or banned by various local and federal regulations.

This guide will answer the question of what you can and can’t throw into a dumpster. To avoid any unwanted fees or penalties read the below information carefully. We did our best to make the below list as comprehensive as possible, but if you still need help determining what is accepted in your area Contact Us and we’ll be happy to help.

Jump to Frequently Asked Questions

Two propane tanks, which are items not allowed in dumpsters

What Can I Put in a Dumpster

Typically any non-hazardous material can be put into a dumpster. Material like standard household waste, bulky furniture, construction and demolition debris, yard trimmings, wood, roofing, flooring and appliances. However there are some exceptions to these, such as the types of appliances and the mixing of materials. See the below guide for more information.

A good rule a thumb is, if you can throw it out in your trash can you can throw it in the dumpster. Things like old blankets, toys, curtains, rugs and similar non-organic trash can all be put in a dumpster. While you can throw in things like cardboard or old books, we urge you to sort and recycle those material instead to help out the environment. Check out our full list of recyclable materials to learn more.

Typically all furniture: couches, dressers, tables, are allowed in a dumpster. There are however some counties where mattresses and upholstery furniture are not allowed in landfills, or disposing of them comes with additional fees.

If you are unsure if you can dispose of mattresses or upholstery furniture in your local area be sure to contact us for help.

Most types of appliances can be thrown into a dumpster: ovens, washers, dryers etc. are all acceptable. However all hazardous fluid or components must be removed first. For example, older refrigerators contain freon which must be safely removed and properly disposed of separately. For more information on proper disposal of hazardous components check out the EPA’s Responsible Appliance Disposal program.

If you have an appliance that still has some life in it you can also try using an app like letgo to divert waste from landfills.

Material from your home renovation project: drywall, siding, studs, etc. can be disposed of in your dumpster. Just be sure not to include anything from the What Can’t I Put in a Dumpster section.

Renovation waste tends to be heavier, make sure that you have a dumpster with an adequate ton limit or know the overage fee pricing for your area. Learn more about dumpster pricing and weight limits to avoid surprises on your bill.

Brush, branches, logs, and other wood can be placed in a dumpster. There are some counties though that will limit how much organic waste can go in. Be sure to contact us to find out the limits for your town.

Pro Tip: In most counties you will receive a discounted rate for dumpsters that are all one material. If you are disposing of just yard waste make sure to tell us when you get a free quote.

Asphalt roofing shingles can go into a dumpster. However, due to their weight it is best to get a dedicated roll off container for them. In most counties you will get better pricing if the container is all roofing shingles, while in others additional fees may be charged if they’re mixed in with other materials. Feel free to ask what the policy is for your town or get a quote for a roofing shingles dumpster rental.

In small quantities these materials are allowed in a container. But if you have a large quantity, these are other types of material you’ll want to get dedicated pricing for.

What Can't I Put in a Dumpster?

Any hazardous material such as wet paint, tires, electronic waste, sealed tanks or drums, and asbestos are prohibited. These materials can be toxic or dangerous and pose a safety hazard to our hard working drivers and the environment. Always remember, when in doubt just ask. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have, so why risk any fees or harm to the environment.

Asbestos can be found in older homes and is considered a carcinogen. A majority of U.S. landfills have banned it and many states have strict regulations around disposing of it.

If you have asbestos you should contact a licensed contractor to ensure safe removal. We can provide you with an asbestos dumpster with speciality lining and loading instructions to ensure proper disposal.

Tires have been banned in almost all landfills in the U.S. and cannot be thrown into the dumpster. Most local tire dealers and auto parts stores will accept your used tires. Find local recyclers who will repurpose them by using Earth911’s recycling search database.

Paints, stains and lacquers may contain lead or mercury and are prohibited from landfills and dumpsters. Use paintcare to find drop-off locations for your leftover paint.

However placing dried and solidified latex paints into the dumpster is ok if it is first wrapped in a plastic bag. Empty paint cans are also allowed in the container, but placing them in the recycling bin is a more eco-friendly option.

Electronics should not be placed in dumpsters. Some areas allow for electronics to be thrown into the container, but many states have e-waste recycling and prohibit it from landfills. TVs, computers, printers and other electronics in a dumpster can result in an additional charge based on your area.

You can donate or recycle most electronics.  Many states, like New Jersey, have robust and easy to use e-waste programs. Find out the e-waste recycling options in your state.

Car batteries and lithium batteries cannot go into a dumpster because they can leak chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Old car batteries can be taken to almost any store that sells them. Lithium batteries can be recycled at most big-box stores in the designated drop-off bins.

While small alkaline batteries (AA’s, AAA’s, etc.) can be placed in the dumpster, we ask that you also bring these to drop-off bins as they can still harm the environment as well as cause fires.

Contaminated soil, soil that has been mixed with hazardous substances, cannot be thrown into the dumpster. They must be contained or treated per Federal Superfund Guidelines and be handled by a certified hauler.

Contact us if you have contaminated soil or call us at (732) 366-9355 and we will help you properly dispose of it.

Flammable materials like gasoline, diesel, fuels, oils, and propane tanks are highly combustible. They present a serious safety hazard to drivers, landfill workers, and you. They are not allowed in dumpsters and disposing of them improperly is illegal in most areas. Contact a propane company, hazardous material collection center, or your local fire department for disposal information.

Hot water tanks can collect harmful landfill gases inside of them and are not allowed in every landfill. Contact us if you need to dispose of your hot water heater.

Hazardous materials and liquids must be handled properly and cannot go into a normal dumpster. Some examples of hazardous materials would be medical waste, pesticides, household cleaners, ink and resins. If you have a large amount of these materials you can contact us to be serviced by a certified Hazardous Waste Hauler.

If you have only a few hazardous waste materials most areas community collection events where you can drop off the hazardous material for proper disposal. Contact a local hazardous materials collection center for more information about the proper procedure in your area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can you throw tires in a dumpster?

A: No, tires are banned from almost all landfills. However, most tire dealers and auto parts stores will accept your old tires.

Q: Can you put a TV in a dumpster?

A: TVs should not be put into a dumpster. Most states have e-waste recycling programs. You can also contact us beforehand and depending on your area you may be able to leave the TV next to the dumpster to be recycled by us.

Q: Can you throw a mattress in a dumpster?A: It depends on your area. Some counties allow mattresses in the landfills where other prohibit it and you can be charged an additional fee. Contact us to learn if your mattress can go in the dumpster.

Learn More About Roll Off Container Guidlines

Still have questions or need more information about a specific item? Feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. Renting a dumpster doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Our professionals are also standing by to answer your questions by phone at (732) 366-9355.