How to Dispose of Old Insulation

One of the most cost effective improvements you can make to an old house during a renovation or flip is to replace or enhance the insulation. In some cases, this means the relatively simple task of adding blown insulation or another roll of sheet insulation to existing layers.

 

Other times it involves the challenging task of removing a lot of old insulation. And that means finding out how to correctly dispose of it in a safe and economical way.

Fiberglass

Perhaps the most common form of insulation used in the United States is fiberglass. Whether blown into walls and cavities, or laid in sheets in walls and crawl spaces, fiberglass is a lightweight and efficient insulator.

 

 

For that reason, many new insulation jobs involve simply adding to the existing fiberglass and leaving the old stuff where it is.

 

If you must replace good fiberglass insulation, perhaps to achieve a certain LEED rating; you can examine donating existing insulation to a cooperative or recycling center in your area.

 

However, time, heat, dust and humidity – or water and mud – can take its toll on fiberglass and render it useless. When this happens you will need to dispose of it.

 

Fortunately most communities accept fiberglass insulation in their dumps. You should always do a reality check, and communicate with your dumpster supplier to confirm. But you can usually cheaply and safely simply carry the fiberglass insulation to your rented dumpster.

Mineral Wool

A less commonly used form of insulation is mineral wool. Often used to combine soundproofing with heat and cold insulation, this product can also be blown or come in sheets.

 

There are various types of mineral wool, made with different ingredients. There is no general advice about this. It is your responsibility to determine whether it complies with your community’s waste disposal requirements.

 

The experts who rent you your dumpster can help with this identification and in making sure you are following community guidelines.

Vermiculite

A final commonly used form of insulation in old homes is vermiculite. This is a most problematic form of insulation because it often includes the hazardous material asbestos. In the case that your vermiculite has asbestos, you should proceed with caution. Your project might involve trapping the asbestos in place and working around it.

 

If you have expert help who confirms no asbestos content, again check your community’s waste disposal guidelines to determine whether you can safely rent a dumpster and fill it with your old insulation.

Image created by author on Dall*E

November is National Home Care and Hospice Month

November is National Home Care and Hospice Month. According to national home care celebrants,

National Home Care and Hospice Month in November recognizes the dedicated professionals who make a daily difference in the lives of the people they serve.

These caregivers come in many roles, from therapists and aids, administrators and nurses, CNAs and social workers. Their compassion and attention to detail improve the lives of every resident under their care. Their patience and time provide improved quality of life and peace of mind for family members. The month celebrates these qualities and so much more.

When it comes time for home care and hospice, families often need to downsize. This can mean selling a loved one’s house, or moving them into an already crowded house.

Some families are able to turn to auction houses to dispose of excess furniture, or spreading heirlooms among family members.

But sometimes our loved ones did not care for their furniture or other belongings, and instead of moving, what is needed is a deep home cleaning. In this case, you will want to rent a dumpster.

Rent a dumpster to make moving easier

There are many reasons why you may need a dumpster instead of a moving van for your elderly family member’s possessions.

First, most furniture resellers and thrift shops will not accept upholstered goods or furniture that can’t easily be cleaned. This is often the case if it was owned by a smoker or someone with pets. It can also apply to items damaged by flood or smoke.

Second, resellers won’t take damaged goods. If your loved one had a beloved pet, it may mean that they let their cat or dog (or other animal) run the house. Furniture may be scratched or carry smells that are particular to dogs and cats.

Third, a reseller might not be close enough to make the trip worthwhile. For some families, multiple trips to a distant reseller, in a rented vehicle, is simply not in the schedule. Renting a dumpster can be an act of needed convenience for a family already burdened and grieving as they watch older loved ones enter a new and troubling phase of life.

Having a dumpster outside can simplify decision-making and save hours of effort. Simply fill the dumpster with any of the approved items that are a challenge, and moving your loved one can be one question you can get answered.

 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska: https://www.pexels.com/photo/carton-boxes-and-stacked-books-on-table-4498124/

Don’t Forget to Recycle these Common Household Items

When you have a major home project, it is easy to throw all the garbage in the same place. Perhaps you have rented a dumpster, or bought garbage bags for the work (or both) and the simplest thing to do is throw all the trash in the same place.

However, some of those same recycling habits and systems that work for your everyday mess will also work for your special project.

Remember to incorporate recycling into your major project, because it could save you time and energy, and even money.

Recyclable items often overlooked

When doing a large project, home owners and contractors often forget that the large amounts of cleaning supplies they use often come in recyclable containers. It will seem easiest to simply toss the containers in the dumpster with everything else, but simple is not always best.

These days paint cans and trays are often recyclable, as are the containers for cleaning liquids. Many boxes for building materials are corrugated cardboard which can go directly in recycling bins in most communities.

Looking for recyclables and sorting them out can mean fewer trips to the dumpster, and fewer dumpsters needed for your project. In those cases, recycling is a little more work but can add savings to your bottom line.

Recyclable items that require special disposal

However, it is true that not every plastic container is easily recycled. Some of the liquids you need to complete your work are considered hazardous, because they contained hazardous liquids. Those containers should not get recycled unless they are correctly and completely cleaned out.

In some cases, those containers should also not be placed in your dumpster, because they pose a hazard and are forbidden from landfills.

In these cases, check the ingredients of your materials, and the expectations and regulations for your local landfill. Then, with the right information in hand, we encourage you to recycle as much as possible.

This Trash Does NOT Belong in Your Dumpster

When you rent a dumpster for a project, there is always the temptation to fill it with all the waste you have lying around. However, there are restrictions on what you can put in your dumpster. This is because landfills need to maintain standards for what might leak into groundwater, or what might cause problems – like fires and collapses – at the landfill itself.

Here is a short guide to what one large southwest Ohio waste landfill company does not allow dumped in their landfill.

As always, check with the company you rent your dumpster from, and check with your local landfill for specific regulations and expectations. Always follow the law. Failure to do so can lead to major fines and loss of permits or worse.

Some of the restrictions are obvious. Others will be easily violated if you don’t pay careful attention during your project.

Here’s what one major landfill prohibits

The first check of the list reveals a few anticipated items.

As you’d expect, you are not to throw away hazardous items including items that are flammable, explosive, toxic, or corrosive. Every community has different rules for dispensing of these hazardous materials. These are matters of community safety and should be followed.

Also expected, landfills do not permit dumping radioactive waste. If your waste is radioactive, renting a dumpster is probably not the right path for you!

Final expected banned items are batteries, because they are corrosive and toxic, and medical or other biohazard waste.

The other items on the list might not be as expected, and merit a closer look.

Check closely before dumping to see if tires can be included. At this landfill they cannot. Fluorescent lamps and ballasts are also forbidden items that are easy to miss, especially when doing a demo of factory or office space. These locations often make extensive use of fluorescent bulbs and ballasts. Those materials should be set aside and discarded in accordance with local regulations. If you are doing a home demolition, especially in a garage, it might be tempting to throw items from the shelves into the dumpster without a second thought. However, these can include some of the forbidden items: pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. These items are hazardous alone, and worse, they can combine with other chemicals to become toxic or explosive. Again, check local restrictions before tossing them in your dumpster.

 

These Chemical Ingredients Have Been Banned or Discontinued

Created during the Nixon administration, the EPA was tasked with protecting our environment. However, their regulatory power is somewhat limited, and there have actually been very few chemical bans they have put in place. These bans, however, have made us all safer and less likely to get various types of cancer.

Here are the most widely-known chemicals they have banned over the years.

PCBs

PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls were banned in 1978. The first such chemical ban implemented by the EPA was to address clear indications that PCBs caused cancer in mice and rats.

PCB exposure rates were fairly low to the average consumer, but they turned out to be hard to eliminate once created. This meant that streams and lakes that received industrial waste became permanently contaminated, posing an increased risk of cancer to people.

CHCs and FHCs

It has been over forty years since scientists discovered that certain chemicals word depleting the ozone layer. This was leading to uneven heating and dangerous sun exposure risking the health of millions of people around the world. It was also contributing to the phenomenon that scientists would later call global warming.

Banning fully hydrogenated chlorofluoroalkanes happened in 1978. This was the first step in what became a world-wide ban on certain chemical ingredients in aerosol sprays. As a result, the ozone layer was able to stabilize.

These ingredients are no longer found in aerosols, making those cans safe to dispose in traditional waste.

Dioxins

Later the EPA banned dioxins.  These were most infamous as being an ingredient in Agent Orange which caused chemical burns and multiple types of cancers during and after the Vietnam War. However they were also a byproduct of multiple industrial practices.

They were banned in 1980 as a reaction to public health concerns about cancer being caused by dioxins in the environment where these factories created dioxins as a waste product.

Asbestos

The ban of asbestos has had long-lasting effects. When scientists learned that asbestos created cancer among those who breathe the dust, the decision to ban it seemed obvious.

The 1989 ban on asbestos led to a wide range of changes that affect builders regularly. There are even special rules for how asbestos must be treated if found in an existing building. It was such a popular insulator that it was used in many buildings. Removing it safely is still a costly process – but one that saves untold suffering and costs later in life.

 

Rent a Dumpster for Your Massive 4th of July Party

You’ve rented the tents. You’ve ordered the ice cream. You’ve designated who will bring the ice, and who will bring firewood.

You have planned a birthday party for America that the country, and certainly your friends and family, will not soon forget.

You’re going to make a mess, and you don’t want to make dozens of extra trips hauling full garbage bags to the curb. Or worse, you don’t want all that mess sitting in your garage or back yard for days until garbage pickup day – a day that has been delayed because of the holiday.

You should rent a dumpster.

Why a dumpster is a better option

Sure, you could just buy a bunch of trash bags. After all, you will have help cleaning up. Aunts and uncles, friends and neighbors will all be willing to take a bag or two and walk around the area.

But then what?

Where will you put them? This is not ordinary trash.

After all, most of what made it a fabulous, unforgettable blowout party is also what will bring raccoons and cats, flies and bees, and all sorts of other critters to the pile of trash.

You will want to put those bags in a dumpster.

Designed to save you time and energy in just this sort of situation, a dumpster will also save you headaches and even greater mess.

If you tried to shove all those bags into your trash cans, you would run out of trash cans. Additionally, a lot of communities have limits on how much trash they will pick up at one location on trash day.

Worse yet, even if you could leave all those bags piled up on the curb, one night of neighborhood critters could create a massive mess as the critters attempt to open, eat, and drag those bags back home to their young ones. It could end up looking like a bomb went off, even after your efforts to clean everything up.

In this case, while renting a dumpster might incur a little extra expense, it more than makes up for it in making a more enjoyable party, and easier clean-up and a smaller trash hangover.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska: https://www.pexels.com/photo/waving-flag-of-united-states-of-america-4386426/

 

 

Save Dumpster Space by Donating to Re-Use Stores

Reclaimed. Re-used. Recycled. Whatever term you want to use, there is a thriving business in giving almost everything one more shot at life.

Most communities have at least one store where lightly used cabinetry, furniture, doors, lumber, and, well, everything is bought and sold. Owners upgrading or tearing down can find one last market. Beginning or thrifty owners find useful fixtures or projects.

And everyone wins.

Save dumpster space – and make money – by reselling

 

For the conscientious homeowner or builder, this thriving middle man market means additional savings in multiple ways.

First, every square foot of space saved in the rental dumpster means a small rental or fewer trips to the dump.

Second, some of these shops will pay a modest fee for the items, or they may even arrange to come pick it up for you. This last option can save labor and time – all of which is favorable to the bottom line.

Finally, there is a feeling of satisfaction that comes from knowing you not only saved space at the dump, but you helped out an ambitious homeowner. Your overall footprint, carbon and otherwise, is smaller.

Use it to your advantage

Of course, you don’t have to only be a donor – although it is a smart way to reduce your workload and impact your environment and community.

You could be a patron. When you are embarking on your next project, stop by the local re-purposing store to see if maybe they have something you could use. Is there a door here that fits your building but saves you buying new? You can get it for a fraction of the cost. Is there a mirror that will work over the new sink to give a room the rustic feel you need?

With a little bit of imagination, time, and the investment of some elbow grease, a re-use store can help every part of your next building project be a little better.

Old lumber can be re-used with dramatic effect.

Photo by Dmitry Demidov: https://www.pexels.com/photo/weathered-wooden-surface-with-scratches-on-sunny-day-3800468/

Pick the Right Sized Trash Bag for the Job

There are a mind-boggling number of different garbage bags on shelves today. Between various brands, bag types, applications, material, and sizes, one could be forgiven for simply grabbing a box and running to the next aisle hoping for the best.

There are more than a dozen different sizes of trash receptacles in homes. The most common types have many brands competing for their trash bag business. Here’s a guide to the types of cans you have at home, and which size trash bag fit them the best.

First, you need to know that the bags are measured in gallons, which can cause confusion. It helps if you imagine liquid poured into the bag, outside of the container, filling it completely. In reality, the bags don’t hold that much, and often would not stand up to holding that amount of liquid.

4 gallon trash bag

These small boutique trash cans are the workhouse of the home. Found in nearly every room, some people opt to not put any bags in them at all. However, a small 4-gallon bag will do nicely. It will keep your can clean and leave plenty of room to tie the bag shut before putting it out to the curb in your larger trash bin.

8 gallon trash bag

Commonly referred to as the kitchen trash bag, the 8-10 gallon bag can be found in every home. Big enough to hold food and refuse from a couple of days of cooking, it is also small enough for anyone to carry out to the trash bin – even your youngest helpers. And it fits comfortably under most kitchen sinks.

12-15 gallon trash bag

This work room or garage trash bag is perfect for hearty use. It can hold a lot of trash from several projects, or one big one. Watch out, though. When full, this bag can be a load to carry!

20 gallon trash bags and larger

Designed for heavier outdoor or industrial use, bags are made to fit receptacles of nearly every size. These can hold bags within a bag, and are often used as liners rather than trash bags. That is, they are used to keep the bin clean while other smaller trash bags are placed inside then dumped into garbage trucks or dumpsters.

Remember: bagging your garbage is a good choice for keeping your trash bins clean. Check with your community guidelines about which kinds of garbage bags are acceptable at your waste site.

Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas

Backyard Landscaping Ideas

Spring time is almost here, and the warmer weather might be pushing you to attend to your yard for the first time since the first frost. This might seem like a daunting project, but there are several easy and fast ideas that will transform your outdoor space.

The first thing that might help bring your yard back together is a fresh layer of mulch on any showing dirt or garden space. The topsoil or leftover mulch from the previous spring might have lost its color, evenness, and spread, making now the perfect time to put some more down. Taking the time to rake out a couple bags of fresh mulch throughout your garden will not only add vibrancy, but also protect the soil from coming rain.

Before putting down mulch, consider going to your local flower and plant shop to purchase a couple of both ground plants and pots. These in combination with the mulch will put the color back in places that used to be covered with snow and ice.

Adding vertical components to your yard such as trelicases will also add visual depth to your backyard. These will allow vines to grow upwards instead of out, controlling where your plants are growing and adding to the aesthetic at the same time. If you have a garden, you can use vertical features to make space for things like beans and cucumbers to grow as well.

If you have the space, digging a hole for a small pond may also be the cheap and easy landscaping project you are looking for. Nestling a plastic basin – bought from your local or chain hardware store – into a corner or along a fence will also begin to attract more neighborhood wildlife! You will soon notice birds, squirrels, and maybe even frogs and turtles gathering in your yard.

If you are looking for a way to repurpose things from your garage, painting rocks or old gardening tools (watering can, flow pot, etc.) and placing them tastefully around your yard can add a creative aspect to your outdoor space.

Though these are just the start of ways you can quickly and cheaply transform your yard after the long winter, the list of possibilities is endless. Regardless of what you choose, take the time to throw away or refurbish your old or worn items and refresh the view from your window!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is That Spill in My Garage?

When it gets to be time to clean out your garage, and you have worked all day to get it cleaned out, you are likely to see something you haven’t seen in a long time: your garage floor.

And there you are likely to find a wide variety of spills and stains.

Here is a handy guide to the kinds of stains you might find, and how you should go about cleaning them up.

Gasoline

A common spill in the garage is gasoline. This kind of spill happens most often if you use a gas powered mower or trimmer.  These often require that you mix gas and oil in a separate container and then fill the mower or trimmer through a spout. Those spouts are prone to leak.

You will likely recognize the smell of gasoline stain. Sop up any excess fluid with a cloth or rag, then dispose of that in the trash after allowing the cloth to sit in a breeze to allow gasoline to evaporate. This will keep it from becoming a fire threat in your trash can. The remaining stain can be treated with kitty litter or sawdust which will help draw the remaining liquid out.

Oil

Another common garage spill is oil. This can happen the same way the gasoline spills happen, because many two-stroke engines require a mix of gasoline and oil, so these spills often happen together. Additionally, it can happen if you change your oil in your garage. It is not unusual for a little oil to get on the floor from a drip, or perhaps even a spill if you accidentally knock something over.

As with gas, you should sop up excess or standing fluid with a cloth, kitty litter, or sawdust. After allowing it to air out until the odor diminishes, you can then sweep it up into a trash bag and throw it away.

Windshield wiper fluid

A third, most common spill in a garage is windshield wiper fluid. This is frequently colorless, but might have a sweet odor, if you’re adventurous enough to have a sniff.

Cleanup is very straightforward, just sop up the excess with a rag or towel. Luckily this poses no threat in your trash.

If you are routinely finding these stains under your car, and you note that the spill returns after you have cleaned it up, the problem isn’t your garage, it’s your car. Take it to your mechanic to make sure that the leak can be fixed and it quits messing up the garage you worked so hard to clean!

Driveway stains. Photo by Jon Moore on Unsplash

 

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