9 Things You Should Never Put in a Dumpster

When cleaning out a house or worksite, oftentimes, we just throw everything in a dumpster. But is that the best and safest way to remove waste?

Knowing what’s safe for a dumpster and what’s not is important before doing any type of major project. Renting dumpsters is a great way to cut costs and do a lot of work yourself, but being knowledgeable in what’s allowed to be dumped is imperative.

Here are a few item that should never be put in a dumpster:


Huge appliances like refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, washers, and dryers are fill of both valuable and dangerous metals. This is something that shouldn’t be handled by or messed with by someone inexperienced. Local handymen usually offer a pickup service as they will repair them or use their parts. If not, contact the local sanitation department or hazardous waste collection site to take care of the removal.

Small appliances like blenders, toasters, and coffee makers should not go in the dumpster either. Donating them, selling them, or giving them to a handyman are all great ways to dispose of your old, smaller appliances.


Electronics like old televisions, VCRs, computers, and printers contain poisonous substances. Check the retailer for disposal options. Many cities may take these items on designated days and Earth 911 can help find where electronics can be recycled near you.


Paint qualifies as hazardous waste, therefore, should never ever go in the dumpster. This includes varnishes, stains, lead-based paint, and oil-based paint. In most places, putting free-flowing liquids like paint in the trash is against the law. These items should go to the local government’s designated hazardous materials collection point.

Oil, Gas, and Flammable Solvents

Do not put flammable wastes, such as gasoline, motor oil, lawn mower fluids, lubricants, chemicals, and other petroleum-based products, in the trash nor should they be recycled as they can cause fires and explosions. Do not pour gas or oil down the drain or in the sewer either. The best way to dispose of old gasoline or other fuel is to use it up. Discard these products at a designated local facility. Or contact the fire department or an auto repair shop to help offer suggestions for handling these flammable products.

Propane Tanks

Just like with gas and oil, propane tanks should never be thrown in the trash. Traces of gas remain in the tank and mixed with the pressure inside the tank, it can be explosive. Do not open a tank to let the rest of the gas out leak out because it’s highly flammable and can cause serious damage to you and your property. There are many locations offering trade it or disposal programs, including most Ace Hardware locations.

Light Bulbs

Most light bulbs contain toxic elements such as mercury. They’re safe to use as they are encased in glass. But they should be treated as hazardous materials and disposed accordingly. Wrapping the light bulb in paper for protection before disposing of them in the proper place works best.


No type of battery—alkaline, auto, rechargeable, and lithium—should ever be discarded in a dumpster. Batteries contain corrosive materials and heavy metals that can contaminate the environment, including soil and water, posing dangerous to human health. Discard batteries at an auto parts store, hazardous materials facility, or other designated location. Some electronics stores like Best Buy collects and recycles them.


Landfills do not accept tires because the steel belts inside can puncture the liners in landfills and cause ground contamination. The local government can help handle the disposal. But most car dealerships and tire retailers offer to recycle your old tires when they replace them.

Yard Waste

Putting yard waste in the dumpster is a no-no. Most yard waste like sticks and branches puncture holes in the liners causing damage to landfills. A great way to get rid of yard waste is using a chipper then repurposing the mulch in your yard. Calling a crew to remove it for you is another option. Most cities offer certain days they pick up yard waste for you.

Knowing what to throw away, what to recycle, and what to take to a local hazardous material site is important for your and your family. Throwing away hazardous material can negatively impact you, your property, and the environment.

Finding the right dumpster disposal service is important, especially when moving. Pick a company you trust to ensure you get the best quality care for your needs.