Is there anything you can’t put in a skip?

2nd March 2023

Banner featuring the yellow and blue Hazell & Jefferies lorry carrying a skip.


Skip hire is an easy way to clear out your house, office space, or warehouse. Just rent a skip, fill it, and your skip hire company will do the rest.

But there are a few things to consider when hiring a skip. One of the most important is what you can and can’t put in it.

While you can dispose of most household and commercial waste using a rental skip, there are a few things that you can’t get rid of this way. That’s because these items are classified as ‘hazardous waste’ and must be handled in a specific manner.

If you put these items in a skip, the skip hire company may refuse to take them, as they may not be licensed to do so. You may even be liable for a fine.

This article explains what you can’t put in a skip, as well as how you can safely and legally get rid of these items.


What can’t you put in a skip?



Asbestos was commonly used in buildings and construction projects until it was banned in the UK in 1999. This material is highly hazardous because asbestos particles can cause significant health issues. That includes mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer. 

Therefore, asbestos needs to be disposed of safely and cannot be placed in a standard skip.

Some skip hire companies provide special skips for getting rid of asbestos. These are covered and locked to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres. Alternatively, you may be able to safely dispose of it at your local recycling centre.



Batteries, whether AAA or AGM, cannot be disposed of in a skip because they contain harmful substances like sulphuric acid. If these leak, they could contaminate the rest of the contents of the skip and harm the environment. 

The good news is that batteries can be recycled, and the components in them reused. You can typically recycle small batteries as part of household waste. And you can drop off larger batteries like car batteries at designated collection points.


Electrical equipment

Many people think it’s okay to put items like old hairdryers, radios and microwaves in a rental skip. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

Most electrical equipment can be repurposed or recycled. If your equipment is in good condition, you might be able to give it away or sell it. Most councils will collect electrical waste and dispose of it, or accept it at the local recycling centre. 

Alternatively, if you’re buying a new piece of electrical equipment, the manufacturer must take your old item under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations.


Gas cylinders

Gas cylinders can’t be put in a skip, even if you think they are empty. This is because there may still be some gas still left inside.

Instead, you can take them to your local recycling centre. If your gas cylinder was rented, you can send it back to the gas supplier, who will refill and reuse it.


Medical waste

Medical waste like needles, biological waste and medicines can’t be placed in a skip. These can contaminate the rest of the items in the skip and can also be dangerous. For example, someone could injure themselves on a used needle.

You must dispose of medical waste in a particular way, either through your local council or a specialist company.


Paint, solvents and fuel

Unused paint, solvents and fuel can be dangerous, which is why they can’t be put in a skip. Not only are they flammable and can contaminate other items, but they can leak into the ground and run off into water sources.

If you have leftover paint, the best thing to do is give it to someone who can use it. Otherwise, you can arrange a hazardous waste disposal collection or take it to your local recycling centre.

Bear in mind that you can put paint cans in a skip as long as you’ve cleaned them thoroughly and there’s no paint left in them.



Plasterboard contains gypsum, which creates a dangerous substance called hydrogen sulphide when it gets wet – you can identify this chemical through its distinctive rotten egg smell! As such, you’re not allowed to dispose of plasterboard in a skip.

If you have plasterboard you need to get rid of, your local council may be able to dispose of it safely for you. Alternatively, British Gypsum operates a plasterboard recycling scheme for commercial contractors.



Under the Environmental Protection Act, it’s illegal to dispose of tyres in a skip or send them to landfill. 

You can take your unwanted tyres to your local recycling centre. Most garages will also recycle old tyres when you purchase new ones.


What can you put in a skip?

There are a lot of strict skip hire rules and regulations that determine what you can and can’t put in your rental skip. But the good news is that you can use a skip to get rid of most waste. That includes items like grass trimmings, bricks, furniture and metal.

There are also some items that can be put in a skip but with limitations. For example, while most skip hire companies are happy for you to dispose of a small amount of glass, there may be a limit on the amount of glass you can get rid of for safety reasons. Some skip hire companies will also accept mattresses for a surcharge, while others won’t.

If in doubt, get in touch with your skip hire provider of choice and they will be happy to answer all your questions.


Hazell & Jefferies Ltd. offers specialist skip hire in Oxford and nationwide. With a wide range of different-sized skips available, we’re the reliable, safe and cost-effective leaders when it comes to local skip hire. Contact us today for a free quote.

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