These things do or don’t belong in the trash

What to do with debris from summer DIY projects?

  1. Sprucing up the house with a DIY project or two is as much a summer pastime for Canadians as backyard barbecues, fleeing the city at 5 p.m. on Fridays or grumbling about the heat.

But pulling off a reno project on your own can bring up a lot of questions that you can’t necessarily answer on your own. Questions like: How did I get myself into this? Did we really pick that paint colour? Is it too late to bring in a contractor?

The folks at JUSTJUNK, a junk removal company with franchises across the country, may not be able to help you with answers to those questions. But they definitely have the answers when it comes to the most common questions do-it-yourselfers ask when it comes to dealing with all of the garbage created by a reno project.

Here are a few of them:

  1. How do I get rid of paint cans?

Whether you’re painting inside, outside, staining the deck or repainting patio furniture, you’re going to be left with a lot of paint cans, which generally can’t just be left at the curb with household garbage. Some municipalities provide convenient drop-off bins for hazardous materials such as paint cans or batteries, but typically you’ll have to look into your municipality’s disposal policies. Most municipalities identify hazardous material pick-up days and drop-off locations on their websites.

  1. How do I dispose of vinyl siding?

Some municipalities recommend putting small strips from minor jobs in black garbage bags, as vinyl doesn’t decompose and can’t be recycled. For large strips of vinyl siding, you’ll have to check with your local landfill or use a removal service to save you the time of cutting up the large strips into smaller ones or if you don’t have access to a pickup truck or trailer to remove the larger, eight-foot pieces of siding.

  1. What do I do with these old shingles?

The new roof looks great, but now you’re stuck with a pile of used shingles that the garbage pickup won’t take. Your first option, depending if they are still in good enough condition to be reused, is to check local ReStore or Habitat for Humanity stores to see if you can donate them. If they’re not reusable, a trip to the local landfill might be in order. When taken here to some landfills and recycling centres they can be broken down and the materials reused in other products in the future. Avoid taking them to landfills that don’t separate shingles for future recycling. Some quick phone calls to municipal disposal sites in your area will help you determine where to go to. Keep in mind that the weight of shingles can make transportation tricky.

In the rare case that your asphalt shingles may have contained asbestos, professionals who deal with harmful and hazardous substances may need to be called for disposal.

  1. What should I do with old light bulbs?

LED, CFL and halogen light bulbs are most common and are the most difficult to dispose of. As many waste disposal experts point out, DON’T throw used light bulbs in the trash. Energy saving bulbs have saved Canadians money over the years, but disposing of them improperly could harm the environment. Even energy-saving bulbs can contain small amounts of mercury, which is highly toxic when sent to landfills. Options for disposing of these include: local drop-off depots (Check your municipal website for where these are), hazardous waste collection events, which are run seasonally, or even return them to the retailer, where this service is offered.

  1. Where do I throw out old batteries?

Many batteries can be disposed of the same ways that light-bulbs can. Depots, collection events and retailers are often your best options for disposal. Most household alkaline batteries are actually safe to dispose of with your regular waste pickups. However, rechargeable batteries — like those used in many power tools — should not be thrown away in the trash. Any batteries for cordless appliances, tools, cars should be disposed of with extreme care. Due to regulations, depending on the location, transportation of these is quite restricted and even removal companies will not be able to take these for you.

— Jessica Abdilla