Thursday, November 28, 2013

What you should know about skips

Although the American 'dumpster' was developed during the 1930s, the first open top skips to be seen in the UK were imported from Germany in the early 1960s. At a time when housing projects were endemic, the idea of having large containers on site became popular with construction companies. Householders, seeing these skips on the street, swiftly identified them as a useful way that they too could rid themselves of rubbish, and so the skip hire industry was born.
Image credit: Pro Skips

Home improvement is almost a way of life now for property owners, but it invariably results in waste. Small amounts can just go into your rubbish bin, but larger amounts are not so easy to handle. This is where a skip can prove invaluable.

It's not always easy to anticipate the size of skip that you'll need, although a good hire company will always advise you. As a rule of thumb, hire a mini skip for small clear outs, a midi skip for room clearances and a builders' skip for major home improvement work.

If there's no possibility of putting the skip on private land, then a permit from your local council will be necessary. Whilst many councils are happy for the skip company to apply on their customer's behalf, some only issue permits to the end user. It is illegal to park a skip on the public highway without a permit, and it's also illegal to park it on the pavement.

If you do have a skip on the road, you will usually be required to put safety lights and cones around it. You must also ensure that the name and contact details of the hire company are visible. In addition to these statutory guidelines, each council will also have local procedures with regard to skips.

Please be aware that there are certain things that may not be disposed of in a skip. These include electrical appliances such as televisions; refrigerated appliances such as fridges, freezers and air conditioners; hazardous construction materials like plasterboard and asbestos; pollutants such as paint, solvents and automotive fluids; and pressurised items like aerosols.

There are, basically, two types of skip provider: the skip hire company and the waste manager. The former simply collects your waste and passes it on to a third party to process, however, it should still hold a waste carrier licence. The latter will not only collect your waste, but also carry out its recycling or disposal. A waste manager will also hold a waste carrier licence but have, in addition, an environmental permit.

A good waste management company should be able to recycle around 80 per cent of your waste material. Wood, for example, may be converted into chipboard or MDF, plastics reprocessed into new plastic items and metals into new metal items. Soils can go to landscapers, bricks and rubble to road building projects and glass can also be used in the construction of road surfaces. Green waste can be composted or converted into gas. The little that is left will either be burnt or go into landfill.