Remove renovation rubbish the cheap and easy way

This story will be a load of rubbish – a cheap and environmentally friendly load of rubbish, though, writes Alex Brooks for Sydney Morning Herald.

renovation waste

Have you seen the mess a renovation creates? Dust, rubble, broken tiles and even kitchen sinks. The easiest way to get rid of the mess is a skip bin. The big metal bin arrives on the back of a truck and then the neighbours chuck all their rubbish in it when you’re not looking.

Then you discover the bin isn’t big enough, and you need to order another one when you should have been smart enough to work out that hiring the bigger one in the first place was way cheaper than two smaller bins. Renovators always learn the hard way.

Skip bins are the most convenient way to remove large amounts of rubbish, but not all skips – or waste removal practices – are created equal.

Dump It Bins’ Matt Calleija says prices for skip bins and rubbish removal vary widely across Sydney, with some operators charging three times less than others.

Levies and council policies have increased the cost of rubbish removal to encourage better recycling and waste management. “Anyone who hired a skip last year will be paying more money for it this year,” Calleija says.

Micron Constructions’ Michael Dolly says he estimates waste removal costs one per cent of the entire building cost. “A $100,000 renovation would cost $1000 for rubbish removal and $200,000 would cost $2000,” he says.

WSN Environmental Solutions – which used to be Waste Service NSW but is now a state-owned corporation that runs many of Sydney’s tips – doesn’t apologise for the increased charges, as they are designed to create more efficient waste management practices.

WSN marketing and communications manager Catherine Johnson says it is cheaper and often more environmentally friendly to separate renovation waste yourself rather than jumble it all into a skip bin or trailer and tip it into landfill.

These days, some construction rubbish is recycled – roof tiles become aggregate for landscaping, old windows are turned into insulation batts and bricks and concrete are also crushed and re-used.

Local councils now force renovators and builders to reduce the amount of rubbish they create by forcing them to adopt “waste management plans” as a condition of any building approvals.


  • The most efficient way to remove the rubble and mess from a renovation is to separate materials, either within a skip bin or on your own property.
  • It makes sense to separate waste. All metals – old taps, sinks, bathtubs – can be removed for free by a scrap metal dealer or tipped for free at the local dump. Oops, they aren’t called dumps anymore – they are “waste and resource centres” that happen to smell a bit.
  • It can be cheaper to load up your own box trailer or truck and take the rubbish to the dump, but with general tipping fees in Sydney at around $120 a tonne it’s not free.
  • The heavier the rubbish you have to remove, the more cost-effective a skip bin will be.
  • Check with your local council before you hire a skip bin. Many restrict the companies that operate in their local area.
  • Try to position a skip bin on your property rather than the street – it will save on permit fees and the problems of skip dumping.
  • Rubbish is seasonal. Skip companies are busier in spring and summer than in autumn and winter. Hey, you might be able to negotiate better rates in the colder weather. Who knew?
  • General skip bins will not accept car tyres, asbestos or food and liquid. Some skip companies sort and separate the waste in their own yard before taking it off to be recycled, but some companies may still dump to land fill.
Renovation & DIY