Renovating Or Downsizing? What Are Your Disposal Options?

Whether you're remodeling your home, constructing an addition, or trying to downsize your belongings and move to a smaller home, the process of large-scale disposal of belongings or construction debris can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are several available options to help make this process easier -- from roll-off dumpsters to "pods" to giant, durable plastic tote bags designed to hold all types of waste. Read on for a few preliminary questions you can ask yourself to help guide your disposal process.

If you're constructing or remodeling -- what does the contractor's fee cover?

In many cases, a general contractor or subcontractor will include in his or her total fee an allowance for disposal of construction waste generated at the work site. In other cases, the cost and logistics of disposal of construction waste will fall on you. If you haven't yet signed a contract, it will be best to negotiate the issue of waste disposal up front so that both you and the contractor have clear expectations of what will happen.

If you don't mind disposing of the items yourself, you may want to shop around -- get quotes from several dumpster rental companies to determine the ballpark price range. If the cost of renting a dumpster from one of these companies is significantly less than the cost of paying the contractor to dispose of these items, you may be better off keeping this out of your contract and handling it yourself. As a bonus, you'll also be able to sift through and keep any unblemished "extras" that may later come in handy for repairs -- such as extra shingles, siding, or floor tiles.

Are you planning to dispose of any hazardous items?

Although you're certainly aware of the dangers of throwing used motor oil or batteries into the trash, there are a number of other potential hazards of which you may not be aware. If you plan to throw away any of the following, you may need to seek out a disposal company that will also handle these items:

  • Paint and paint thinner
  • Any insulation manufactured before 1990 (because of the risk of asbestos contamination) 
  • Clothing or other soft items that have been soaked with oil, paint thinner, or other hazardous fluids

Each of these items requires a specific disposal process. For example, insulation that potentially contains asbestos must be soaked in water (to avoid the risk of asbestos particles becoming airborne) and sealed in a special type of bag.

If you're renting your own dumpster, keep in mind there is often a stiff financial penalty for placing these types of "banned" items in the dumpster with the rest of your trash.

How long will it take you to dispose of all unneeded items?

If you think that you and a few friends can get all the trash or construction debris from your home over a long weekend, you may be fine with a short-term dumpster rental. In these situations, the dumpster rental company will drop off the dumpster in a pre-specified location, and then pick it up a few days to a week later, weigh it, and dispose of the contents.  

On the other hand, some dumpster rental companies will provide long-term rentals -- allowing you to offload waste as it is generated. This can be particularly useful during both construction projects and the downsizing process. Although long-term dumpster rental tends to be a bit more expensive than short-term rental, it can give you the additional flexibility you need when making a big change to your home. 

Can you estimate the weight of the items you'll need to dispose? 

A final factor to consider is the weight of the items you're disposing. Most dumpster rental companies do not charge a per-pound fee for all waste, but will instead provide a certain size of dumpster with a "maximum" weight. Any waste that exceeds this weight will be charged an additional per-pound fee.

If the waste you'll be disposing tends to be heavy or dense (such as brick or stone, old appliances or kitchen counters, or glass), you may wish to rent a dumpster that is larger than you need, in order to avoid going over the weight limit. It's generally cheaper to rent a larger dumpster with a higher limit than to pay the per-pound overage fee. 

Continue here to learn more.