Debunking one of the biggest myths about skip hire

Filed in Blog by on August 1, 2019 1 Comment
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I admit it. I’ll hold my hands up and say that sometimes I yearn for a skip on the drive.

Not exactly a zero waste confession to make is it?

But the truth is, I’m a closet minimalist. While I appreciate my creature comforts, inside me is someone who likes space, light and an airy home to live in. The trouble with that becoming a reality is threefold:

  • We have so much stuff that we have accumulated prior to being an aspiring zero waste household, and frankly, I find the idea of sorting and recycling it all completely overwhelming.
  • When I said ‘I do’, I said it to a self confessed hoarder. Yes, my beloved man has enough wood to build an arc, enough screws of all shapes and sizes to start a shop and all manner of things that I don’t even know about that he squirrels away in his ‘one day’ stash.
  • If I were to get my way and put a skip on the drive, I don’t know how my conscience would deal with it. I mean, all I’d be doing is hiring my very own landfill site for a fortnight, right?

Well apparently not!

I had a fascinating conversation this week with James from Reliable Skip Hire Southampton and he helped me debunk the number one myth about skip hire.

While there are certainly some cowboy firms out there that charge a ‘too good to be true’ fee (there’s a reason for that!), other reputable skip hire companies adhere to strict recycling policies. As James pointed out to me, it’s actually cheaper for them to recycle than it is to landfill, so they make sure every skip is sorted by hand (yes you heard right) and every last item that can be recycled or reused gets diverted there. This leaves the absolute bare minimum to be disposed in landfill.

Here’s what happens to some common household materials: after a skip is collected, it goes to a waste transfer station.

  • Cardboard is grouped and baled, processed in the UK, and send abroad for recycling.
  • Concrete and hardcore is crushed and used for roads and driveways, etc.
  • General waste is usually shredded and made into RDF and used for fuel at power stations. I may also go to landfill.
  • Plastic is separated into different types, baled and send abroad to be recycled.
  • Scrap metal is melted down to be reused.
  • Wood is shredded and used for fuel at power stations.

So it’s not so bad after all! As a customer you need to be prepared to ask awkward questions, but my take is, a reputable company will take pride in telling you about their recycling and reuse policies. They’re going to want you to know! Always ask where the waste is going. If the company you’re speaking to doesn’t want to reveal this, look for another company. Also when picking a skip hire company make sure they have a waste carriers license.

Which got me thinking… when this Christmas comes round and my husband asks me what I want for the occasion, I might be asking for something pretty unique! Instead of getting more stuff, how about a guilt-free opportunity for me to create that spacious, light, airy home I’ve been yearning for!

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

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  1. Jackie says:

    Hi! thank you for shedding some light on how our garbage recycling process works. It’s very cool that in James’s company every skip is sorted by hand!

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