How to Fill a Skip

June 26, 2024
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Whether you work in the construction industry and use a skip on a regular basis as part of your job, or are looking to fill a skip for the first time as part of a home renovation, knowing how to fill a skip correctly, safely and legally is essential knowledge. In this article, we’ll look at the rules for what you can put in a skip, what you can’t put in a skip and some alternative ideas for disposing of construction waste.

What Can You Put in a Skip?

The rules around what you can put in a skip are the same whether you work in the construction industry full-time or if you’ve hired a skip as part of your home renovation project, so the following is vital knowledge to have.

Examples of items and materials you can put in a skip are:

  • Furniture and mattresses.
  • Wood, plywood, MDF.
  • Paper and cardboard.
  • Glass.
  • Plastic, including bags, bottles and packaging.
  • Metals and tins (paint tins must be completely empty).
  • Clothes and textiles.
  • Carpet and rugs.
  • Polystyrene.
  • Bricks, rubble and tiles.
  • Soil and garden waste.
  • Domestic, household waste.

Always check with your skip hire company to see whether they have any particular requirements about what can and cannot go in the skip, as some services differ depending on your local council. For example, some skip providers allow mattresses whilst others prefer them to be kept separate.

Bricks in a skip

What Can’t You Put in a Skip?

Any material that is classified as hazardous or harmful to either a person’s health or the environment must never be put in a skip, and there are strict rules and regulations controlling these types of substances.

Examples of items and materials that you can’t put in a skip are:

  • Asbestos.
  • Batteries.
  • Medical waste.
  • Electrical items.
  • Tyres.
  • Gas cylinders.
  • Chemicals.
  • Light bulbs and fluorescent tubes.
  • White goods (such as fridges and freezers).
  • Plasterboard.
  • Paints and paint tins with contents still in them.
  • Oil, petrol and diesel.

Again, always check with your skip hire company about what cannot be included in your skip, as services sometimes differ depending on your local authority.

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Looking to Learn More?

If you work in the construction industry, then take a look at our full range of Health & Safety Courses, including Manual Handling and Asbestos Awareness, to help improve your knowledge of essential workplace safety skills and regulations.

Skip Rules

There are various rules and regulations surrounding the use of skips that you must adhere to if you plan to use one:

  1. Skip markings – In the first instance, the skip hire company must ensure that their skip is safe for you to use and compliant with any necessary regulations. For example, it must have reflective markings, a visible contact name and number and lamps for night time.
  2. Overall responsibility – The person who has hired the skip is responsible for the contents in it so, before your skip is collected, ensure that the items in it are safe and appropriate. This is particularly important if your skip is kept on a public road, as people may throw items into it that shouldn’t be there, and you will still be responsible for them.
  3. Fly tipping – Fly tipping in skips can be a problem if your skip is kept on a public road or other public area, as criminals see it as a perfect opportunity to get rid of their own, illegal waste. Hiring a lockable skip or covering it with a tarpaulin when not in use can help to prevent this.
  4. Overfilling the skip – Never overfill a skip, as it can be a serious safety hazard when the filled skip is being transported. Waste in the skip should not exceed the height of the skip’s walls – there are usually maximum fill lines to guide you.
  5. Skip permits – You don’t need a permit for a skip that’s being kept on your own private property. If the skip is kept on a public road or area, however, then you’ll need a skip permit from your local council. The skip hire company may provide this as part of their package but always check.
  6. Skips on public roads – If you are placing your skip on a public road, then it must not block any exits or entrances without authorisation, must not cover any utility access points (like manhole covers) and must not be within 15 metres of a junction. You’ll also need authorisation to put the skip on double yellow lines.
  7. WEEE – The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations require all electrical waste to be disposed of or recycled by the local authority, which is why these items cannot be put in a skip alongside other waste. You’ll need to arrange for the local authority to collect your WEEE items or take them to a recycling centre yourself.
  8. Plasterboard – Plasterboard and other products containing gypsum cannot be reused or recycled, so therefore cannot be disposed of in your skip. Legislation means that plasterboard must be kept separate from general waste and disposed of safely on its own, so should be taken to your local council’s recycling centre and never put in a skip.
  9. Asbestos – Asbestos-containing materials are extremely hazardous to health if disturbed, so should never be put into a skip. You also cannot remove asbestos yourself and must hire a qualified professional to do it for you, as the risks to health are so high. An asbestos removal specialist will then dispose of the material for you.
Filling a skip

Alternatives to Skips

Hiring a skip isn’t always the right solution, not only because it can be an expensive option for getting rid of waste, but it might be that you don’t have the space for a skip, can’t keep it somewhere accessible, can’t get a permit or have waste materials that can’t be put in it.

Alternative ideas to using a skip include:

Hire a ‘man with a van’

This option is great for domestic renovation projects, house clearances or big garden landscaping projects. It essentially means you’re hiring a van and a driver together.The ‘man and van’ will arrive at your property at an arranged time, load all of your waste for removal (meaning you can avoid any heavy lifting) and then take it where you need it to go. Depending on the company, the ‘man with a van’ may dispose of your waste for you, or you’ll have to go with them and help unload it at the other end.

Hire a grab lorry or grab wagon

Grab lorries are like a bigger version of a ‘man with a van’ and are great for bigger house or garden projects where you’ve got a lot of waste. The grab lorry works like a digger, with a large hydraulic arm that picks up the waste in a claw and deposits it in the back of the lorry. This method is useful if you have lots of heavy materials to move, like a big pile of soil or rubble. The lorry company will also take your waste for separation and recycling once they’ve collected it.

Hire a self-drive van

Hiring a van to drive yourself can be a money-saving option for disposing of waste, as it means you’ll be doing all of the loading, driving, unloading and sorting yourself. You can hire a van for as long as you need it for and use it to transport your waste items to your local waste recycling centre. However, be sure to check with the van hire company whether they have any rules about what types of materials you can use the van for.

Hiring a van for removal services

Book a local authority collection

If you just have a few large items to get rid of, like an old bed frame or a large fridge/freezer, then take a look at the waste collection services offered by your local council. Your council’s website will tell you what types of items they collect, how to schedule a pick up, whether there’s a fee involved and how to prepare the items for collection.

Give to charity

If you’re carrying out a house renovation or house clearance, then consider giving any still-working and good-condition items to charity, instead of throwing them away. Local charities and community projects will happily accept old furniture, electricals, fixtures and fittings if they’re good quality and can be used by someone who needs them. Some charities will even take old kitchen units and worktops to donate to those without.

Hiring a skip can be a great option for getting rid of large amounts of construction waste, whether you work in the construction industry or are simply doing a renovation at home. It’s important that you know how to fill your skip correctly and safely, however, and you must abide by the rules for what you can and cannot throw away in a skip. Do it correctly, and your waste items will soon be on their way to being reused, repurposed or recycled.

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