What Can I Throw in a Dumpster?

You can put almost anything in a dumpster, but there are some restrictions to keep in mind. There are a few items you can’t throw out in a dumpster due to safety hazards and local regulations. If you’re not sure you can put a particular item in your container, check the list below or give us a call at 1-866-280-4276 to find out what’s accepted in your area.

Before you begin loading your dumpster,
learn more about items that are:
Allowed | Sometimes Allowed | Not Allowed

What Can Go In a Dumpster

What Can I Put in a Dumpster?

Household junk and debris from construction or home improvement projects are typically allowed in a dumpster. This includes remodeling debris such as drywall, lumber, flooring, cabinetry and siding, as well as general household items from decluttering projects. Learn more about the items that can go in a dumpster in most areas. 

Please keep in mind:
Some service areas have local waste ordinances that prevent us from disposing of certain items that we normally accept. Contact Budget Dumpster at 1-866-284-6164 for your area's specific disposal guidelines.

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Household Junk

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Considering a residential dumpster for your home cleanout? You can put most household junk items in a dumpster, including old knickknacks, clothing, toys, pots and pans, and more. Certain appliances and electronics can often be put in a dumpster, but not always — it’s best to call ahead before throwing these items away.

Depending on your area’s local regulations, throwing appliances and electronics into a dumpster might carry a per-item fee.

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Wooden Furniture

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Wooden furniture like tables, chairs and book cases are almost always accepted, but ask about upholstered furniture, including couches and recliners, as they are not allowed in a dumpster in all locations (see the Upholstered Furniture section below for more details).

Be aware that throwing away furniture may carry an additional fee in some areas due to local disposal regulations.

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Brick, Asphalt, Concrete

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Heavy materials such as brick, asphalt, broken concrete and concrete block, can be disposed of using heavy debris dumpsters. Budget Dumpster offers specific dumpsters for heavy materials in areas where we accept them.

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Construction and Home Improvement Debris

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Debris from building, demolition and home improvement projects can almost always be thrown away in a construction dumpster. This can include drywall, flooring, wall tiles, broken bathroom fixtures, tiles, subfloor materials, old countertops and more. 

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Lumber

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In most cases, you can put untreated lumber and other wood from construction projects into a dumpster, including two-by-fours and studs. Treated lumber, such as railroad ties, is almost never allowed in your roll off container. 

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Storm Debris

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Our dumpsters can be used for storm debris removal, typically including all uncontaminated and non-hazardous materials. We commonly accept damaged building materials and yard waste provided that they fall within the debris restrictions of the given service area. 

Check out The Essential Guide to Planning for Severe Weather to learn how to prepare your home and safely clean up after a big storm. 

 

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Shingles

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Shingles can go in a roofing dumpster in almost all service areas.  Renting a dumpster is a great way to get rid of all kinds of roofing debris including underlayment, tiles, plywood and any other construction waste you may create during your project. 

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Aerosol Cans

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Empty aerosol cans can be put in a dumpster. However, full or partially full cans have the potential to explode. Any aerosol cans with liquid still inside should not be put in a dumpster. 


These Materials Can Sometimes Be Put in a Dumpster

Certain items, like upholstered furniture, appliances, electronics and mattresses are allowed to go in a dumpster in some areas, but not all. This is because dumpster rules and waste regulations can vary from state to state and even city to city. So for the following items, always call ahead to see if they are accepted in your location.

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Upholstered Furniture

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Wondering if you can throw your couch in a dumpster? Upholstered furniture like couches and recliners can be put in a dumpster in many areas, but not all. If you have upholstered items to dispose of but a dumpster isn’t an option in your area, find a furniture disposal alternative that works for you. 

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Yard Waste

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Yard waste can go in a dumpster in most cases. In some areas, you can put tree limbs, shrubs and other debris in a yard waste dumpster, while other areas are limited to just a few bags of grass or leaves. Tree stumps are allowed in a dumpster in some areas, but not all, so always call before throwing these away. Some locations may have an additional disposal fee per stump.

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Appliances

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Most old appliances can go in a dumpster, unless otherwise stated. Appliances like microwaves, stoves and dishwashers can generally be thrown away, but refrigerators typically are not accepted.  Water heaters are also not allowed in dumpster rentals as they can collect gases and explode once in the landfill.  Be aware that local disposal regulations may require separate charges for certain appliances. 

Get more information on how to dispose of appliances in your area. 

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Electronics

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 In some areas, you can throw electronics away in a dumpster. This usually includes TVs, computers, printers and other personal electronics in small quantities. In areas that require e-waste recycling, there is an additional charge per item to cover recycling costs. In other areas, we cannot accept any electronics due to local and landfill regulations.

Even if you can throw your TV in the dumpster, you might want to consider donating or recycling it first. Discover the various ways to dispose of electronics and find the right destination for your old tech.

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Dirt

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You can use a dumpster for dirt disposal in some service areas. If this isn’t allowed in your area, be sure to research responsible local dirt disposal options near you. Contaminated soil, or dirt that has been polluted with chemicals or other unnatural waste, cannot ever be put in a dumpster. It must be taken to  an approved soil treatment center. 

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Mattresses and Box Springs

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You cannot throw a mattress in a dumpster unless it is allowed in your service area. In some cases, there may be a fee for each mattress to cover the cost of breaking them down before they’re either recycled or landfilled.

If a dumpster isn’t an option in your area, check out the various other ways to dispose of a mattress.
 

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Stumps and Large Yard Debris

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Stumps are permitted in a few areas, but not all. If your area does allow it, be aware that there may be an additional fee charged per stump. If you have stumps or other yard waste that is not accepted in your service area, find a yard waste disposal alternative that works for your project. 

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Food Waste

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If you’re cleaning up after a backyard wedding or neighborhood festival, chances are you may have some food waste to get rid of. In certain areas, you can put small amounts of food waste in a dumpster.

In some areas, food waste is prohibited entirely. Throwing food into a dumpster in these areas can result in additional fees, so always be sure to call ahead before throwing away food in your dumpster. If it is not accepted, find a local composting center to dispose of your organic waste properly. 

Items You Cannot Put in a Dumpster

While the rules may vary on some materials, there are certain prohibited items you cannot throw in a dumpster anywhere. This includes items such as refrigerators, tires, hazardous chemicals, car batteries, railroad ties and any other materials that are toxic, pose a significant safety hazard or could damage the container. Read on to learn how to handle waste materials that are not allowed in your dumpster. 

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Refrigerators

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Refrigerators typically cannot be put in a dumpster because the refrigerant they contain is toxic. You can usually dispose of refrigerators through your local sanitation department’s bulk debris pickup program. In some areas, you may be able to throw away your refrigerator using a dumpster if it has been properly drained by an HVAC professional. 

However, if you are simply throwing out one refrigerator, it may be easier to call an appliance retailer to handle it. Some will provide free disposal with the purchase of a new appliance. 

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Hot Water Tanks

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Hot water tanks are generally not allowed in dumpster rentals because their void space can collect harmful gases inside landfills. If you need to dispose of a hot water heater or tank, contact your local waste management department or recycling facility. 

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Tires

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You cannot throw tires in a dumpster as they can damage landfill structures and equipment. Whole tires are capable of "floating" to the top of a landfill as methane gas builds up inside the tire's inner wall.  Most auto parts stores and municipal waste departments will accept old tires to recycle them into asphalt and other industrial applications. Check Earth911’s recycling search database to find a tire recycler in your area. 

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Paint Cans and Lacquers

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Paints and lacquers are prohibited because they may contain lead or mercury, especially those manufactured prior to the 1990s. This includes paint thinners, lacquers or wood stains.

However, in most municipalities you can dispose of dry latex paint so long as you wrap up the dried paint in a plastic bag. Empty paint cans are also accepted.

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Adhesives

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Adhesives such as glue or epoxy should not go in a dumpster as they can bind other materials to the interior of the container. Instead, throw these items out with your regular household trash or recycling.

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Car Batteries

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Car batteries, as well as lithium batteries, cannot be put in a dumpster because they can leak chemicals that are harmful to the environment. You can take old car batteries to a local recycler, such as an auto shop. Lithium batteries, like those found in laptops, can be recycled at most big-box electronics stores. General-purpose alkaline batteries (AA’s, AAA’s, D’s) can go in a dumpster.

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Medical Infectious Waste

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Infectious waste consists of materials used in medicine or that have come into contact with bodily fluids. Used medical supplies, including needles and bandages, should be handled by waste haulers licensed for medical waste disposal. 

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Hazardous Materials

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Hazardous materials and liquids cannot go in a dumpster. Examples of hazardous waste include asbestos, pesticides, contaminated soils or absorbents, motor oil, other automotive fluids and medical waste. Always make sure to follow the proper procedures in your location and find a hazardous waste collection center near you to handle the disposal responsibly.

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Contaminated Soils and Absorbents

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Contaminated soils and absorbents that are mixed with hazardous substances cannot be disposed of through normal waste haulers. They must either be treated or contained per federal Superfund guidelines.

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Household Cleaners

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Chemical cleaners or solvent should not be thrown away in a dumpster. However, empty containers are okay to dispose of as long as they do not contain any residual chemicals.

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Ink & Resins

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Ink used in pens and printers, as well as resins, can damage equipment and stain the interior of dumpsters. These are best disposed of through recycling centers or retailers with drop-off locations.

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Oils, Fuels, and Propane Tanks

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Disposing of propane tanks, fuels, oils, and other flammable materials using a dumpster is a serious safety hazard. These substances are highly combustible and disposing of them improperly is illegal in most areas. You should contact a propane company, your local fire department or hazardous material collection center for further disposal information.

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Railroad Ties

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Since many railroad ties are treated with harmful wood preservatives, they aren’t allowed in our dumpsters. However, most landfills will accept intact railroad ties. They can also be recycled and reused by organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, or even local businesses looking for landscaping supplies or parking lot bumpers.

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Asbestos

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Asbestos is a flame retardant found in older homes and various industrial products. It is considered a carcinogen in most U.S. states, resulting in landfill bans. If you know your home contains asbestos, you should contact a licensed contractor to ensure safe removal and disposal.

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Industrial Drums

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Industrial drums contain potentially dangerous byproducts of a number of different industrial processes. These should be disposed of through haulers licensed for hazardous waste disposal.

Call Today to Learn More About Roll Off Dumpster Rules and Guidelines

Have more questions about what you can throw in a dumpster? We can help. You can always call our dumpster rental experts at 1-866-280-4276 to ask about individual items and learn more about renting a dumpster for your cleanup.