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What You Can (And Can't) Throw Away In A Dumpster When Cleaning Out Your Garage

by Genesis Allen

When you clean out your garage, one of the best ways to rid yourself of your old junk is to rent a dumpster. Dumpster rental provides a quick and easy way of throwing out your old trash without worrying about garbage pickup dates or whether you'll be able to fit everything in your garbage bins. However, there are a few items you may encounter in your garage that are not acceptable for the dumpster. Knowing what you can and can't throw away in your dumpster will help you when cleaning out your garage.

What can you throw away in a dumpster?

Most dumpster rental companies will allow you to throw away non-liquid, non-hazardous materials. The type of materials you might find in your garage include

  • Furniture
  • Books
  • Empty boxes
  • Rags
  • Old tools
  • Blankets
  • Old building materials such as wood and drywall.

Can you throw away old paint in a dumpster?

Old paint--a common item in many garages--would make a big mess in a dumpster. Furthermore, some types of paint are considered to be a hazardous materials. Most dumpster rental companies will not allow you to throw away old wet paint in a dumpster. The only paint you can throw away in a dumpster is dried, solidified paint. If you wish to dry paint and throw it away in a dumpster, it's best to do it with cans of paint that are mostly empty. You can speed the drying process by leaving it out in the sun or by filling it with saw dust or kitty litter.

Are there other things that you can't throw away in a dumpster?

Many dumpster rental companies have a list of prohibited items, including

  • Electronics. This includes a wide variety of electronics such as televisions, computers, smart phones, tablets, laptops and basically anything electronic that has a battery.
  • Items that are very heavy. This list includes bricks, asphalt and concrete. Items that are too heavy can make the dumpster too dangerous to take away when the rental is over.
  • Items that contain Freon. Refrigerators, air conditioners and any other appliance that contains Freon cannot be put into a dumpster. However, some dumpster rental companies will allow you to throw away these appliances after emptying the coils of Freon. Check with your dumpster rental company to determine their policy.
  • Cleaning chemicals. Cleaning chemicals like bleach, all-purpose cleaner and other hazardous liquids cannot be thrown away in a dumpster.

What should you do if you need to throw away prohibited items?

If you would like to throw away a prohibited item, contact your local sanitation department. Many hazardous materials will have special recycling centers where these materials can be dropped off.