What You Can Put in a Dumpster: A Guide

January 17, 2020


image of a large dumpster in Long Beach California

Written by The Long Beach Dumpster Company Team 

Image of a residential dumpster with yard waste in Orange County California.

When it comes time to start loading up your dumpster, it’s very common to encounter items that make you scratch your head. “Can I put this in the dumpster?” You might ask yourself. Well first, always know that you can call us at 562-362-4943 and we’ll be able to answer any of your questions, but you can also read below for some advice on items that are permissible to put in your dumpster.

Items Allowed in Dumpsters

The below list of items are generally always allowed in dumpsters:

Household Junk – Examples include old clothes, toys, and books.

Brick, Asphalt, Concrete – While these materials can be disposed of in dumpsters, they usually require special heavy debris dumpsters. When booking your container make sure to bring this up on the call.

Construction Debris – Examples include drywall, tiles, flooring, wood, and more.

Yard Waste – Shrubs, branches, and other plant material is usually fine to put in a dumpster. Tree stumps may not be acceptable, so it’s best to ask if you are planning on throwing one out.

Note that this list is not exhaustive. If you have any questions about what is or isn’t allowed, just give us a call!

Items Not Allowed in a Dumpster

The below items are definitely not allowed in a dumpster, but don’t worry. We offer some advice for how you can get rid of these tough-to-handle items.

Refrigerators – You can’t throw out a refrigerator in a dumpster because the refrigerant in them is toxic. Instead, call your local landfill or sanitation department and request a bulky item pickup. Also, if you are buying a new refrigerator, appliance stores usually offer free disposal of your old one.

Tires – Tires cannot be throw into dumpsters because they damage the landfill structures and equipment. Tires also “float” to the top of landfills because methane gas builds up in the inner walls of the tire. To get rid of them, contact your local auto parts store or local sanitation department. They usually have recycling programs that turn the tires into asphalt or use them otherwise.

Medical Waste – Any sort of medical waste such as needles, bandages, or other used medical supplies that have come in contact with bodily fluids are not permissible. Instead, contact a local waste hauler who specializes in medical waste disposal.

Propane Tanks, Fuel, Oil – Disposing of any these items in a dumpster is extremely dangerous as they are highly flammable and can cause a fire or explosion. You should call your local fire department or a hazardous materials collection center to dispose of these items.

Adhesives, Ink, Household Cleaners – While these household items may seem innocuous, they cannot be disposed of in a dumpster. Adhesives such as glue or epoxy damage and ink can damage the dumpsters and landfill equipment. Chemical cleaners and solvents can be flammable and dangerous so are not acceptable.

Car & Lithium Batteries – Car and lithium batteries cannot be put in dumpsters because they leak chemicals that are bad for the environment. Car batteries can be recycled at most auto shops, and lithium batteries can be recycled at most big-box electronics stores. Normal household batteries like AA, AAA, and D batteries can go in a dumpster.

Asbestos – Asbestos is regarded as a carcinogen in most states, so is prohibited from being able to go in a dumpster. If you know that you are disposing of something with asbestos, you should contact your local sanitation or hazardous waste disposal center to get rid of it.

Paint & Lacquer – Paint and lacquer can’t be throw out in a dumpster because they might contain lead or mercury, which harmful to your health and the environment. Empty paint cans can be throw out, however, and dry latex paint can be thrown out as long as the dried paint is wrapped in a plastic bag. To dispose of oil paint or lacquer, you can take it to your local hazardous waste center, or visit PaintCare.org to find a local give-back program. The paint can still be used for someone who needs it!

Note that the above is not an exhaustive list of all the items not allowed in a dumpster. It’s important not to put any prohibited items in your dumpster because the landfill will find them and charge you an additional fee for disposing of them properly.

When you speak with us, we’ll give you a full rundown on all items permitted and prohibited from being put in your dumpster rental. We look forward to speaking with you!

Call us Today!