What Cannot Go In a Dumpster? 9 Prohibited Items

September 20, 2023

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Taking out the trash is a chore many of us do without thinking twice. We throw away old food, broken toys, ripped clothes - basically anything we don't have a use for anymore. But did you know there are actually many items that legally cannot be tossed in the dumpster?

Dumpsters may seem like a catch-all for our garbage, but waste management facilities have rules about what can and cannot be disposed of this way. There are good reasons for these restrictions - some items can be hazardous, damaging to equipment, or hard to process at the waste facilities.

What cannot go in a dumpster? Hazardous materials like batteries, paint, medical waste, and electronics are prohibited in dumpsters due to their toxicity, while bulky items like tires, appliances, and construction debris are banned because of their size. Yard waste, which can be composted, is also not allowed in dumpsters in most areas.

So before you go dumping everything without a second thought, check out this list of 9 common prohibited dumpster items. Knowing what you can't toss can save you from fines or other penalties down the line!

1. Batteries

Used batteries, whether they are AA batteries from your TV remote or car batteries, cannot go in the temporary dumpster rental. All batteries, both single-use and rechargeable, are considered hazardous waste. They contain heavy metals and corrosive materials that can leak if damaged.

Dumping batteries in the trash poses risks to sanitation workers and the environment. Rechargeable batteries can be recycled, while single-use batteries need to be disposed of at hazardous waste collection sites. Just don't put them in the dumpster!

what cannot go in a dumpster


2. Light Bulbs

Burned-out light bulbs of any kind - incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, etc. - are banned from dumpsters in most areas. Like batteries, they contain materials that make them a hazardous waste.

Light bulbs can break and release chemicals, mercury vapors, and other substances you don't want leaking out in a landfill. Take bulbs to recycling centers or hazardous waste disposal instead. Just make sure to handle old bulbs carefully before disposal.


3. What Cannot Go In a Dumpster? Paint!

Leftover paint is quite common around homes, whether it's from a remodeling job or an art project. But those pesky cans of extra paint cannot be tossed in the dumpster with the rest of your trash.

Paint is considered a hazardous household waste because of chemicals used as pigments and solvents. Just one can of oil-based paint dumped improperly can contaminate a large quantity of groundwater. Contact your local waste authority to find out where to dispose of paint in your area.

old aerosol paint cans

4. Electronics

Outdated TVs, computers, cell phones, printers - none of our unwanted electronics should be thrown in dumpsters. E-waste contains hazardous materials like mercury, lead, and flame retardants that can leach out of landfills.

Dumping electronics also wastes valuable recoverable materials. By recycling your e-waste at designated disposal centers, you ensure these materials can be salvaged and used again. Some retailers and manufacturers also collect certain electronics for recycling.


5. Tires

Used tires are bulky, and the dumpster may seem like the easy solution when you need to get rid of them. But tires are one of the biggest prohibited dumpster items due to their large size and material composition.

Whole tires thrown into landfills take up a lot of space without decomposing. They also contain metals and other materials that could leach into groundwater over time. Check with tire retailers and auto shops - many collect old tires for recycling programs.

old tires

6. Yard Waste

It may be tempting to sweep up leaves, grass clippings, pruned branches, and other yard trimmings into the dumpster. But almost all waste management authorities ban yard waste from trash dumpsters.

Natural materials like leaves, plants, branches, and grass are recyclable through composting programs. Some cities offer yard waste collection days or sites to keep this organic matter out of landfills. Don't mix yard waste into your dumpster!

what cannot go in a dumpster

7. Appliances

Toasters, microwaves, washing machines - throwing away large appliances in the dumpster is a definite no-no. These bulky items take up a lot of unnecessary space in landfills.

More importantly, many appliances contain chemicals and recoverable metals worth salvaging through recycling programs. Find an appliance recycler or contact your local waste agency before attempting appliance disposal in a dumpster.

what cannot go in a dumpster

8. Medical Waste

Anything considered medical waste cannot be disposed of in normal trash receptacles. This includes syringes, blood-stained items, IV tubes, and similar hazardous medical materials.

Medical waste could spread infections, diseases, and biohazardous materials if not properly disposed of. Follow your doctor's office or hospital's regulated medical waste program for safe disposal. Never place medical waste in a public dumpster.

hazardous waste materials

9. Construction Debris

It may seem reasonable to toss small leftover materials from home renovation projects in the trash. But most dumpsters are not intended for construction and demolition debris, no matter how small.

Tiles, drywall, bricks, concrete, shingles, lumber - these heavy and bulky items quickly fill up landfill space. Most regions require construction waste to be disposed of separately. Check your local regulations before dumping renovation debris.

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The Damage Improper Disposal Can Cause

Now you know - batteries, paint, appliances, yard waste, and other hazardous or bulky items do not belong in your dumpster! These materials require special handling to avoid harming sanitation workers, contaminating groundwater, or taking up precious landfill space.

Improper disposal of prohibited items can also lead to fines or other penalties if waste management authorities discover them in your dumpster. Follow your city's guidelines, and when in doubt, leave prohibited materials out of your normal trash. There are always better options for getting rid of hazardous, bulky, or recyclable waste.

About Bradenton Dumpster Rental

With over a decade of professional residential, commercial, and construction site service, Bradenton Dumpster Rental is the local area's go-to trash removal resource. We're in the business of helping customers clean up and clean out their junk. Please call (941) 269-1611 for a FREE estimate.

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