Whether you are undertaking a major refurbishment, a small DIY job or are simply clearing out old furniture and bric-a-brac, a skip can be a life saver. It saves on multiple trips to the recycling centre and allows you to get rid of items which may not fit in your car. But it is not as simple as simply placing a skip outside your home. There are a number of things you need to take into account before you ring around for quotes.
Think very carefully about how much waste you think you will be disposing of. Hiring a large skip is always cheaper than hiring two small ones and much less inconvenient. However, it is not as simple as just getting the biggest you can afford; you need to consider how much space you have for it and whether another option might be better.
For very small jobs such as the spring overhaul of the garden, a skipbag, such as a Hippobag might be more useful and cheaper. Most councils offer a service where they will drop off a large bag which you can fill and they will return to collect it. This is more flexible than a skip and allows you to move it into a better position if space is limited.
If you plan on placing your skip or Hippobag on the street or on a public highway, you will require a permit from the council. In most cases the skip hire company will take care of this, but you need to check as the ultimate responsibility lies with you. Most permits are valid for 4 weeks, but they can be renewed. The council can remove and impound a skip if there is no permit. This will cause delays to your work and will be costly to get back. If your skip is in your driveway or on private land you won't need a permit.
The skip hire company
It is your responsibility to ensure that the company you hire has all the correct approvals from the council. This means you can be sure they are disposing of your waste correctly. The Environment Agency website has a list of approved carriers.
As the hirer of a skip you need to ensure it will not be in the way of anyone who needs to come to your home. For this reason a skip should always be placed on the road or driveway rather than a pavement.
If your skip is on a public highway you need to use cones and lights to warn oncoming traffic. Reflective strips on the ends of the skip are also a good idea.
Never overfill a skip. This is dangerous for when the load is taken away, but it can also mean that items may fall on passers-by. The contents should be covered if there is any likelihood of dust or other light contents been disturbed by the wind.
A skip should never be used to dispose of toxic or flammable materials such as asbestos or gas canisters.
Be a friendly neighbour
It is most important that your neighbours are aware of what you are doing and where the skips will be. If you are able to give them a timetable of how long it will be there, then you may find you have fewer complaints. If your driveway is shared, then you need to obtain the permission of the other users if the skip might be in the way.
Finally, remember that people love to check out the contents of skips and may walk off with your items. Once you place something in a skip it is considered fair game. If this is a worry for you then lockable enclosed skips are available. Also other people may dispose of their items in your skip. Unfortunately this is just one of the risk you take!