The media is full of coverage about the debris inundating homes, streets, and stores; and rightly so, for it directly impacts the well-being of the residents of the area. But homeowners are not the only ones dealing with damaged buildings, downed trees, and spilled hazardous materials. Office buildings, parks, retail stores, and construction sites also need to be cleared so that everyday life can resume. Whether you are a homeowner, landlord, property manager, construction site manager, or store owner, the faster you can dispose of the remnants of a natural disaster, the better, and the following suggestions can make recovery safer and faster.
Sorting It All Out
Sorting the debris into the following categories will make pickup quick and safe.
Green Debris: Do not bag tree branches, logs, or leaves, instead place them in a pile. Most municipalities prefer to pick them up, and many recycle them into wood chips which can be used to mitigate soil erosion.
Construction and Household Debris: Shingles, tiles, drywall, furniture, carpeting, and mattresses should be placed in a dumpster.
Hazardous Materials: Gasoline, oil-based paint, lawn and plant fertilizers, motor oil, and insecticides should be taken to a municipal collection center that accepts them. However, you may have to wait until they schedule a specific day to do so.
Appliances: Check and see if you can recycle stoves, dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers. If these items are not recyclable, you’ll have to make arrangements with a waste removal company that can supply a roll-off box to pick these up these items. They will pick up refrigerators and air conditioners too, but only if they’ve been drained of freon or other refrigerants. Sometimes, municipalities will schedule a special bulk pickup day after a natural disaster to help remove these items.
Electronics: In many places, anything with an electrical cord needs to be disposed of separately. So set aside any televisions, computers, video consoles, printers, and radios and check with your municipality before disposing of them.
What Not to Do
By no means should you burn any debris, including wood and tree limbs. This can impair air quality, especially if the natural disaster was a wildfire. Plus, fire doesn’t dispose of the debris, it just changes its form. Also, do not mix your everyday workplace or household trash in with the disaster debris when a special pickup is scheduled. Save it for the regular garbage pickup day. And finally, do not block traffic or pedestrian walkways with piles of debris. Keep it on your property or construction site until the disposal day arrives.
Check with Your State DEP for Debris Storage Regulations
Some states, due to their geography, have strict regulations regarding where debris can be stored. For example, since debris cannot be placed in floodplains, coastal states put coastal areas off limits for debris storage, even for a short period. Mountain states have restrictions as well. Although mountain hollows would seem to lend themselves to storing debris, doing so would be putting it right in the middle of the floodway. So before you even begin to think about where to store your debris for disposal, check with your DEP to make sure it’s a proper area.
Tidying Up the Mess
Once you have all your debris and recyclables sorted, you may want to rent bins for items that can be recycled, and dumpsters for the large items that cannot. Contact the staff at Debris Box today if you are unsure about the disposal of certain items or to learn more about our bin sizes.