7 best ways to get rid of your bulky rubbish

How to get rid of bulky home improvement rubbish you can’t fit in your bin? What should to do with an old sofa, fridge or mattress you can’t sell or donate?

LoveJunk, the rubbish removal online marketplace, sets out the 7 options open to householders for disposing of their bulky waste.

Council tip 

If you can spare the time, are up for some manual labour, and have a suitable vehicle, then driving your bulky waste to your local tip (aka civic amenity site or household waste & recycling centre) is the cheapest option. But if you do, here are a few things to remember:

  • Avoid weekends – weekends (especially mid-mornings) are busy, often with long queues. So, if possible, go mid-week and nice and early, when it’s quiet 
  • Bring proof of residence – most tips require documentary proof that you are a resident in that borough.  A driving license or recent utility bill should be good enough
  • Don’t use a van – council tips are designed for householders not trade, so most have height restrictions to stop tradespeople entering and tipping for free
  • Check what rubbish they accept – many tips will not accept certain types of waste (eg. paint, asbestos, mattresses, rubble).
  • Use a tarpaulin – to avoid messing up your car, place a tarp or blanket to protect and capture any mess from the junk when you’re transporting it

Council collection

Every local authority offers its residents a low-cost collection service for bulky household items, like furniture, appliances and bric-a-brac. This excludes builders & home improvement waste. To find out about how much they charge and how to book, go their website and look for ‘bulky waste collection’.  Bear in mind response times can be very slow (1 – 2 weeks), the junk will usually need to be put outside your house, and they won’t take builders or DIY waste.

Man and van

If you don’t fancy driving to the tip or hanging around for the council collection service, or you need to get rid of DIY or home improvement waste, then a man & van rubbish clearance is likely to be your easiest and cheapest option.

Unlike the council service, the crew of a private man & van waste collection contractor will load up the waste for you from anywhere on your property (including humping it from your back garden) and they will also remove every type of junk, not just furniture and bulky appliances. But please be sure to use a properly licensed operator because the sector is renowned for cowboys who fly tip or burn your waste after collection.  

Skip hire  

Hiring a skip is the traditional option for disposing of builder waste. It’s useful as a container, the price is fixed, and you can take your time filling it up.  The key issues are cost (skips can be very expensive, especially if you need a skip hire permit as well because you’re placing it on the road), they can damage to your driveway, and they’re not very environmentally friendly.  If you are considering skip hire then Lovejunk can also help with that.

Skip bag

Skip bags are large, heavy duty bags used like a skip.  Buy the bag, fill it and pay someone to remove it.  Great for small DIY projects with lots of messy heavy things like rubble or tiles, and they protect your driveway or lawn.  You can buy them at builders’ merchants and DIY stores like B&Q, Travis Perkins and Wickes. Hippo bag is the best known brand. But there’s no magic in the brand. A cheap alternative is buying a normal white builder’s bag and then getting a man & van to empty it.  Btw, just like a skip, if you put a skip bag on a public road or pavement, you need a permit.

Retailer take-back

Many retailers offer a cheap or sometimes free removal service for the old item (eg sofa, carpet, mattress, kitchen, or dishwasher) you are replacing, as part of the deal in buying the new. If available, this can be good value and convenient, because you normally require the old item taking away at the time of delivery / installation.

House clearance company

House clearance companies are traders in 2nd hand household items. So, if you have quite a lot of stuff to get rid of that is resaleable and don’t fancy putting it on eBay, then a house clearance is good idea. They may well do the whole clearance for free (or even pay you) if there are enough items of value in your junk to cover their costs. Bear in mind, house clearance firms always come to the property first to review what’s there and provide a quote – so it’s a bit of a slower process.

Ps. Bonfires? Please don’t!

Sadly, apart from the law of nuisance, there is no specific legislation stopping householders from burning stuff in their back yard. So, unless a neighbour complains or you put other lives at risk, you can in theory burn anything you like.  But just because something isn’t illegal, doesn’t make it OK to do it!  Sure, it’s fine to have a bonfire to burn dry garden refuse like twigs and leaves – but please don’t burn other stuff.  It’s really bad for the environment.