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The Dos and Don'ts of Skip Hire

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Apr 13, 2023
7 minutes read
  • Common skip hire issues
  • Safe use of your local skip
  • What you can and can’t put in all skips

With skip hire, there are always things to consider. From where your skip should go to what you can and cannot place inside it, it pays to know what you can and can’t do with your local skip. This article will give you basic points for the dos and don’ts of skip hire, including safety concerns and things to avoid.

An overloaded skip on a public highway without safety features

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Skip Hire 101: Get the Right Size

Depending on the job in hand, you might need a midi skip, which is 4 or 5 yards, or a builders’ skip, which is 6-8 yards. Home clearouts will be more suited to midi skips, but bigger jobs could easily fill a builders’ skip. If you only have a tiny job, you could easily go with a small skip hire.

If you are conscious of cost, you might be tempted to go for the cheapest, smallest size, but this might not be what you need. Picking price over the correct size can end up costing you more, especially if you need to hire another skip if it wasn’t big enough. Look at your options for skip hire and consider what you need first.

Guide to finding the right size skip for you.

Permitted Items

A wide range of items can be placed inside skips, but there are also items that are restricted. The following list gives you an idea of allowed items for skip hire.

Skip Hire Lorry Vector
  • Artificial grass

  • Baths

  • Bricks

  • Building rubble

  • Cardboard

  • Carpet

  • Ceramics

  • Clothes

  • Furniture

  • Garden tools

  • Garden waste

  • General waste

  • Glass bottles and jars

  • Non-electrical fittings

  • Packaging (including polystyrene)

  • Paper

  • Paint (solidified)

  • Plastics

  • Rubber matting

  • Sanitaryware

  • Scrap metal

  • Soil and stone

  • Textiles

  • Tiles

  • Underlay

  • Wood

Restricted Items

Not anything and everything can go into a skip, as some items need to be recycled or disposed of in a certain way. For example, skip hire is not for any liquid waste or harmful materials. A full list of restricted items can be seen below.

Large Skip Vector
  • Aerosols

  • Asbestos

  • Car batteries

  • Chemicals (bleach, pesticides, etc.)

  • Clinical and medical waste

  • Cooking oil

  • Diesel

  • Engine oil

  • Explosives

  • Fluorescent tubes

  • Gas cylinders

  • Hazardous waste

  • Household batteries

  • Lead-based items

  • Light bulbs

  • Liquids

  • Mattresses

  • Paint or solvents

  • Petrol

  • Plasterboard

  • Tyres

  • Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

Most skip hire companies prohibit mattresses, so if this is one of the reasons why you’re looking to hire a local skip, you will have to ask if they take them first. Most people also don’t realise that electrical equipment, such as white goods and televisions are normally not permitted. Some companies will take them, but they will charge a fee for each item. This helps cover their costs for the specific disposal it needs to go through.

Learn more about skip hire.

What Not to Do

Overfill a Skip

Whether you’re hiring a 2 yard skip or an 8 yard skip, you should never overfill them. All skips feature a maximum line, and they should be filled level. If the skip hire company comes to collect your skip and they find you’ve overfilled it, they may refuse to take it. The reasoning behind this is health and safety. An overfilled skip won’t stack properly on the lorry and can be above the weight limit. Items can also spill out and become a hazard for traffic and pedestrians. In short, choose the right sized skip for the job in hand.

Cause an Obstruction

When thinking about the positioning of your skip, you should avoid covering up manhole covers, drains, grates or access points. If you can’t fit the skip on your drive, or you don’t have room on private land, you need to think considerately about using the public highway. Skip hire companies should be helpful in recommending where to place your skip, but you need to be wary of not creating an obstruction. To help prevent fires and avoid obstruction, it’s handy to have your skip collected as soon as possible after it’s full.

Burn Waste

No Fires in Skips

Never burn waste inside a skip. Fire regulations don’t allow for this and you can end up damaging the skip. If the skip hire company discovers that you’ve burned waste inside their skip, they can charge you for a full replacement. What’s worse, if the skip is on a public highway, any fire contained within the skip could generate enough heat to melt the tarmac beneath it. Your local authority can prosecute you for this as well as charge the damage to you.

Skip Hire Safety

Safe Filling

When filling up your skip, make sure you do it in a considerate way. Nothing should be jutting out or creating a hazard for pedestrians or road users. With all forms of skip hire, you should ensure you’re using all of the space you can without padding out or wasting areas with gaps of air. It’s also important to lift heavy items properly, getting help from another person if needed.

Night Vision

Skip Safety

Skips that are placed on the public highway should have lights, cones and reflective materials placed on and around them. The skip hire company should sort this for you, but it’s your responsibility to keep these items safe. At night, it alerts road users to their presence and prevents collisions.

Apply for a Permit

A skip permit is only required if you don’t have room on your private land for the skip to sit. In order to use the public highway, permission needs to be granted from the council first. This needs to include your address, the time frame for the job and when the skip is going to be delivered. Once granted, a skip hire permit is only valid for a week, so if your job will take longer than this, you will need to apply for an extension.

If you don’t apply for a permit for your skip on a public highway, you can be fined and also be charged retrospectively for the permit. Some councils will also remove the skip and charge you for doing so. Some skip hire companies will take this off your hands and apply for the permit for you, if you need one, so it’s worth asking them at the time of hiring.

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