Understanding skip hire: Sizes, limitations, alternatives, permits and tips

Written by: Chris Kervin | Published:

Skip hire can be an affordable and convenient waste removal solution in many circumstances, with numerous sizes and configurations available. However, there are numerous limitations and restrictions associated with skips, and some jobs are better suited to alternative waste disposal services, writes Chris Kervin at Skip Hire Services.

Skips are available in a range of different sizes and shapes to suit almost any task. The size that you will need is dependent on the amount of waste you will be producing.

For smaller jobs, a mini (2 to 3 yard) or midi (4 to 5 yard) skip will often be suitable. These skips are popular with domestic consumers, who are undertaking smaller home improvement tasks, such as a garden clearance, or bathroom refit. Being small, they are also the cheapest skip sizes available, with prices starting as low as £70.

Builder’s and Maxi skips are larger, with sizes ranging from 6 to 18 yard capacities, and are often hired by commercial clients with considerable waste disposal needs.

For industrial sized jobs, specialist roll-on roll-off skips may be required. These skips are extremely large, and available in sizes ranging from 20 to 40 yards.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for unwanted and potentially prohibited waste to be added to a hired skip by members of the public. When skips are placed in publically accessible areas, a lockable skip may be useful for keeping your waste secure, and prevent unwanted additions. Lockable skips are available in a range of different sizes, but are also costlier than standard open skips.

What can you throw into a skip?

The items that will and won’t be accepted in a skip often varies slightly between skip providers, but as a general guide, the items that are permitted in a skip include:

  • Rubble
  • Soil
  • Domestic waste
  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Organic waste
  • Metal
  • Furniture
  • Cardboard

Items not allowed in a skip include:

  • Hazardous waste (asbestos, explosives, etc.)
  • Electrical Items
  • Tyres
  • Fluorescent bulbs
  • Chemicals, paint, solvents
  • Medical waste
  • Compressed gas cylinders

Plasterboard is another material that is not allowed in a skip with mixed waste. Plasterboard must be kept separate from other waste, either in its own skip, or in a plasterboard skip bag.

What are the limitations of skip hire?

There are a number of limitations that can result in skip hire being an unsuitable choice for certain waste disposal requirements. The main skip limitations include the locations where a skip can be used and the waste which can be thrown inside.

As skips are transported using trucks, they can only be delivered to locations accessible to large and heavy vehicles. There are many residential and commercial areas throughout the UK that have small streets, tunnels with low ceilings, and bridges that cannot support the weight of a truck.

Skips are loaded within a few meters of the trucks parked position, so even within a property, the locations where a skip can be unloaded is restricted by the loading trucks access. As a result, skips are normally placed in the front garden, drive or road outside a property, which may not be the closest location to the waste.

There are numerous types of waste that cannot be thrown into a skip, so it is important to consider the items that you want to dispose of before hiring a skip. Generally, there are other services available to dispose and recycle materials not permitted in a skip, such as electricals, tyres and hazardous waste. Local council websites normally have advice on how and where to dispose of these items.

How to save money on skip hire?

Generally, skips are a cheap method of disposing waste, but to ensure you receive the best deal on your hire there are a few tips that can potentially save you money.

Skips are regularly used to dispose of usable items, such as furniture. These items are often bulky, and consume considerable space within your skip. To save space, and potentially reduce the skip size you require, many items can be donated to charity or given away using Freecycle or Gumtree.

The cost of a skip is directly related to the size required, with larger skips costing more than smaller skips. Choosing the correct size skip is important to ensure you are paying the right amount for your hire, as a skip that is too large will not be filled, but a skip that is too small will leave you with unwanted waste.

As with most trade services, experts advise that consumers should always receive at least three quotes before deciding on a skip provider. You do not have to settle for the cheapest quote, but instead should choose your preferred company and use any cheaper quotes to negotiate a better deal on your hire.

What are the skip hire alternatives?

There are a number of skip alternatives available, which in many circumstances may better suit your waste removal requirements. The most popular alternatives are skip bags and rubbish removal teams.

Skip bags are a popular waste removal solution when you only have a small amount of waste. Skip bags are available in a number of sizes, ranging from 1-yard to 4.5-yards. Similar to a skip, skip bags have the convenience of being filled as the waste is created. Skip bags can be purchased from most hardware stores or online, and are collected with a grab truck once full.

Rubbish removal services are a convenient skip hire alternative when your waste has been created and simply needs to be collected. Unlike a skip, the rubbish removal team will do all the heavy lifting to remove your unwanted waste, and load it straight into a van. Rubbish removal services normally only charge for the amount of waste they take away, which may save money and you will not have to estimate the skip bin size needed for your waste.

When is a skip hire permit required?

Skip hire permits are issued by the local council authority, and prices vary, often ranging from £15 to upwards of £60. Skip permits are only required when placing a skip on council land, such as a public road, but can be avoided when placed on privately owned land.

Skip hire tips

  • Don’t try to hide prohibited items in the middle of a skip. Skips are emptied after collection so the waste can be separated and recycled. Prohibited items will be found and you may be fined.
  • You are responsible for all of the waste inside your skip bin when it is collected, so be mindful of unwanted additions to your skip when placing an open skip in a publically accessible area.
  • You may be fined or prosecuted if you use a skip hire provider who is not licensed. To check whether a skip hire firm has a current waste carrier licence, you can check on the government register - https://environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/vi...
  • If you are looking for an environmentally friendly waste disposal solution, you may be happy to know that most skip hire companies achieve high levels of recycling. Skip providers empty and sort each individual skip. Recycling is important to ensure hire prices are kept low.

For more details on Skip Hire Services, visit www.SkipHire.Services

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