A skip is a large, open top container used traditionally by building firms to deposit the debris that they produce. Once full, it is then removed by a purpose built wagon to a landfill site or recycling centre where the contents are deposited. Skips are also often hired for a fixed period of time by private individuals carrying out work on their homes.
Skips are particularly useful if you are planning any sort of home improvement project, such as replacing your roof, putting in new windows or stripping out a central heating system. They can also be used for garden clearances, providing a solution to the question of what to do with awkward garden sheds or greenhouses.
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 possible, arrange for the skip to be put on your own driveway, as putting it on the public highway requires a permit from the local council. This permit is normally arranged by the skip provider, although some councils do require that the customer applies to them directly.
There are a number of statutory, as well as local, regulations that you need to be aware of when you park a skip on the public highway. The basic rules are that the skip should not exceed five metres in length by two metres in width, it should be guarded by at least three traffic cones and illuminated at all four corners by night. It should not cover any manholes and the name and telephone number of the hire company should always be clearly visible somewhere on the skip.
There are certain household items that are deemed hazardous and which must not be put into a skip. These include refrigerators, freezers, electrical appliances, tyres, batteries, asbestos, gas bottles, fluorescent light tubes, solvents, fuels, aerosols and medical waste. If you are unsure about anything, contact the skip provider for confirmation.
A good skip hire company should be able to tell you exactly how it intends to process your material and tell you precisely what its recycle rate is. With a normal load, the absolute maximum that should end up in landfill is 20 per cent. The company should hold a valid waste removal licence and, if it processes the waste in its own waste transfer station, an environmental permit.
The final stage of the process sees your waste being separated out into recyclable and non-reusable items. Wood, cardboard, paper, plastics, metals, rubble, soil and glass can all be reprocessed to make new products. Green waste can either be composted or converted into green fuel. Only the bare minimum should actually end up in the ground.
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