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Disposing of Waste – Important in Home Improvement?

When making home improvements getting rid of the waste may not be included in the ‘after’ pictures but it shouldn’t be an afterthought. Disposing of waste is an important part of any project legally, financially and morally.

It is a good idea to plan before starting any home improvement of how to get rid of waste. This extends beyond the old fittings you may be removing. It includes items such as old furnishings, electrical equipment and possibly hazardous materials. There is often more waste than you imagine so think carefully about the best way to dispose of it, not just the easiest.

Regulation of Waste Disposal

It is always the responsibility of the home or business owner to ensure waste is disposed of correctly. Even if it is agreed that waste will be removed by a company doing work on your property, it is up to you to check they hold a Waste Carrier’s Licence. Take the name of an individual, address, company name and if possible take a photocopy of the waste carrier’s licence when organising the removal of waste. Otherwise, if your old materials are fly-tipped you could be held responsible and fined thousands of pounds. Just because you may have paid to have your waste taken away it does not necessarily mean that person has the right credentials to do so.

Removal of Hazardous Waste

On occasion, there may be hazardous waste to be removed. It is vital that this is done properly. Hazardous items include: pesticides, oils, some paints, batteries, energy saving light bulbs, electrical equipment and of course, asbestos. Most of the items on the list are easy to dispose of correctly at local recycling centres. You can get more information on where to dispose of hazardous waste from the Government website.

Removing asbestos, however, requires extra precautions. Asbestos may be found in boilers, insulations, floor tiles, walls and ceilings. However, it can be difficult to identify asbestos, for help check out the HSE website.

If you do suspect you have found asbestos in your property – do not panic. Asbestos is only really dangerous if it is broken up and dust is created. Do not disturb it or do any work to it until you understand how to deal with it. You can repair an area containing asbestos and seal it in. However, if you simply cannot live with it, contact an asbestos surveyor and contractor to get it removed professionally.

Getting Rid of Old Furniture and Electrical Equipment

Electrical equipment is classed as hazardous waste as they often have hazardous components in them. Disposing of them is relatively straight forward. If you are replacing an old appliance the company that is delivering the new appliance may take your old one away for a charge. It is also possible to pay the council to pick up your old electrical items. This generally costs around £10 per item with a bulk discount for the more items you get collected.

This also includes bulky items such as furniture. If you have a means of transport you can take the items to a local recycling centre free of charge. However, this is not always the cheapest and most environmentally friendly method.

It is estimated that over half the electrical goods and furniture that is thrown away is in perfect working order. To save on landfill, time and money there are better alternatives. You could sell your items. Car boots, local adverts and internet sites are all good places to advertise your goods and though it may not be of use to you, it could be to someone else. Adverts are easy to place and you can get the items picked up, saving on the costs of taking them away.

If an item is not worth anything there are also plenty of recycling sites where you can offer your items as a free give-away. Again this saves the hassle of disposing of it yourself. You could also give the items to charity.

Disposal of waste, like the improvement itself, requires planning and thought. Leaving it late means you can be tempted just to get rid of it by any means. Planning how to dispose of waste will help find the best solution for your safety, the environment and your pocket.

By Michael Hallam

1 Comment to Disposing of Waste – Important in Home Improvement?

  1. February 27, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    That is a good tip. Only … when I bought a new AA+ fridge, I deliberately did not sell my old – still working, but energy wasting – one . I put the fridge on the street one hour before the council wanted to pick it up.
    I just closed the door and the fridge was gone, picked up by a neighbour.

    By the way: I started a blog “Make my house warm”, http://makemyhousewarm.blogspot.co.uk/, where people can follow my quest in getting my house more insulated.

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