A roll off dumpster may be rented for construction or business use, or may be used to get rid of clutter from a private home. However, not every kind of trash can be thrown into a dumpster.
Environmental factors are the main reason why some items are forbidden to be tossed into dumpsters. Although there are local ordinances that mandate additional restrictions, some limitations are more universal.
Because dumpsters are emptied into landfills, soil and underground water contamination at landfill sites will occur if toxic materials are dumped and accumulate at the sites. These materials include:
Paint and solvents. Old cans of paint, and solvents such as paint thinner and acetone are forbidden at landfills.
Herbicides and pesticides. Although it may seem counterintuitive, because both of these products have commercial and residential applications, they cannot be placed in landfills. Single occurrences may not be damaging to the environment, but continuous dumping of these products can contaminate the soil and water near the landfill.
Automotive fluids. These include used motor oil, transmission fluid, and antifreeze. Accumulated amounts of these products can cause contamination and create a hazard for wildlife.
Automobile tires. While they don't present an immediate contamination threat, fires at tire storage facilities can result in environmental disasters. When tires burn, they are difficult to extinguish, and they release oil into the ground and hazardous pollutants into the air.
Batteries. These include all types of batteries, including household and automotive batteries. They contain materials such as lead or cadmium that are detrimental in accumulated quantities.
Aerosol sprays cans. These materials may contain propellants that are damaging to the environment, and because their contents are pressurized, they could explode if punctured or exposed to heat.
Electronic appliances. These include, but are not limited to, old computers and computer components, which may present that same chemical contamination as batteries.
Recyclables. Placing recyclable materials in trash dumpsters causes landfills to be filled more quickly, necessitating the opening of additional landfill space. Homeowners can take their recyclables to local recycling centers, while businesses can rent a smaller dumpster dedicated to recyclables specific to their operations, such as cardboard boxes.
Most of these hazardous materials can be disposed of in a manner that is environmentally safe. Used motor oil can be taken to auto service facilities for recycling, while other hazardous substances can usually be taken to a designated facility provided by the local municipality's public works department.