How To – Getting Rid Of Home Project Waste Materials & Site Cleanup

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    In this howto we will look at site maintenance and waste removal.

    When you are improving your home with moderate sized projects like adding a deck, replacing windows and doors or remodeling a basement or garage there is going to be a lot of waste materials that you need to get rid of.

    Good management of your project means that you remove the waste from your work area at the end of every day.  The reason that you must be diligent about cleanup is that you do not want to create a workplace that is dangerous or that will slow your work.

    Think about it how much fun will it be starting off in the morning only to have to clean up stuff from yesterday before you can get going. Additionally you don’t want to be tripping over things while you are working so if you cut a bunch of 2x4s and have a lot of scrap throw them into your scrap pile or discard them in a dumpster while you are working.

    On larger projects you will have a helper that fetches materials and performs site cleanup all day long.

    On really large projects you will need to hire out the work to a contractor that specializes in site cleanup but they will only perform the work at the end of the project, at stages during the project week or at the end of every work day. They won’t be following you around like your underpaid helper.

    How ever you do it it is important that you do it. Setup rules for your main contractors. Don’t allow framers or drywall technicians to walk away from a job without removing their materials or placing them into your trash.

    I would have to say that Framing Carpenters are the worst at cleanup. They want to get their work done as fast as they can because their work year is short and every good climate hour is paying for the months of winter when they won’t have work. Unfortunately for landscapers and home owners having large chunks of wood embedded in mud that is impossible to remove by hand really makes life a drag when you are finishing up the project.

    Taking a couple hours to clean up the mess when it means breaking out a shovel or renting a bobcat should be taken off the labor costs you pay them and it is only because they throw some scrap in one direction rather then the other. Its not just lazy its disrespectful for all the other contractors and the home owner.


    Local Laws

    When you apply for a permit your local building official will judge the amount of waste they expect you to generate. In most suburban / rural projects the BO will not cause you a lot of stress unless you have a large addition being completed.

    In addition to a 80 yard dumpster that will need to be removed regularly large projects will also require a silt fence.. You have probably seen these fences they are 2 foot tall black fiber fences that surround the border of the property. This is different from the orange mesh fencing that is used for security and this solid material will reduce your garbage from blowing on to other properties. You can pickup this fencing at any materials supplier. It comes prestaked and stapled and only requires a good sledge hammer to install.

    Saving Materials

    I suggest that during your project you create a save pile of materials that could be reused. You want to store the pile on high ground so it does not get mud caked. You should also store plywood and OSB leaning on its edge.

    You should save any 2x4s or scrap wood over 4 feet long and any plywood over a half sheet in size.

    A few really beat pieces should serve as the foundation to place other wood and you should sort it the best you can without going overboard.

    The idea for saving materials is that often in projects you will need scrap wood and using new stock is really not the best use of your money.

    If you see contractors tossing full length studs with 2 or 3 nails in them and charging you for that have a talk with them because they really won’t care about your budget until you make them realize you know they are wasting materials.

    Even if you never use the scrap wood in this project you can fill a shed with it and use it for building dog houses or other things long into the future.. and this is one great reason to dumpster dive your neighbors projects even if you are not completing a project of your own.. lots of great wood and one sheet of 3/4″ plywood is worth more then a good meal now.

    Using Dumpsters To Remove Site Waste

    Probably the easiest way to get rid of building  material waste is to just contract with a local waste company that will deliver a dumpster to your site.

    When you visit their site you are going to see two different types of dumpsters. A standard retail commercial dumpster that is picked up by garbage trucks and a slide off dumpster that a specialized truck will remove when filled.

    A single 80 yard dumpster can serve for a full home remodel or buildup. You may need to get it emptied once during the whole project but maybe not if you are good about saving your scrap and filling your dumpster correctly.

    A good method for filling a dumpster where you know there will be lumber and other random scrap is to place the heaviest items like old appliances in the front of the dumpster away from the doors and then save space for a full 2×4¬† stud closer to the door to load up your wood scrap.

    Remember you won’t be tossing a lot of lumber if you do it right.

    If you have a difficult time finding a company to rent you a dumpster small enough for your project you can check with waste management they offer a small bag type pickup of one yard of construction materials. The bag is about the size of a single bed and 30 inches high the cost will vary but is about $130 in the area I am at. It is kinda pricey if you have a lot of materials you would probably be better off hauling the materials to the dump yourself.

    I don’t endorse their product or say its not good .. but I have never used it … for more info …






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