Guide to Debris Removal and Decluttering

An American generates about 4.5 pounds of waste on average every day. That's a huge amount of debris without even considering those things in your garage that you haven’t used in a long while. When these things build up, it becomes challenging to get rid of them

Debris removal is one of those things you will need when decluttering your home or moving out to a new place. It is also a part of the process when you are relocating to get a new office space.

Sadly, if you do not understand the process, debris removal can be challenging. You need to know that not all trash is supposed to end up in the trash can. However, junk removal services make the process easy. Whether you are cleaning your home, garage, or office, junk removal services come in and help you get rid of unwanted items so you can have space for those things you need.

In this guide, we will show you how junk removal works and everything you need to know about the process.

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How Does Debris Removal Work?

Debris removal is a service offered by a debris removal company. These companies are those who specialize in removing boxes and bags containing clutter and other items that you no longer want in your home. 

The idea behind the debris removal service is simple. Most people have a lot of items sitting in their homes that take up space and cause confusion. However, most of these people do not have cars or trucks with which they can haul all of these old items away from their homes. Even those who have cars do not have the time needed to do all of the jobs. 

Some people pay their regular garbage collectors to do the job. With a fixed fee, they get to schedule an appointment when all of their garbage can be removed to a landfill area. The problem with garbage collectors is that their services are limited. More so, most of them do not engage in recycling like debris removal services.  

The mode of operation of debris removal companies varies however, the principles are the same across board. First, the company sends someone to your place to give you a quote. After that, you get a schedule on when you want the company to haul away the junk from your premises. In some cases, you might not necessarily have to bring the company to your house to get the quotes. Some companies give you their quotes upfront. 

Depending on the company, the process of removing the junk from your place can take up to weeks. However, some companies offer same-day or second-day service for those who might be in a hurry.  

In most cases, Debris removal companies offer two options to get rid of your old items: 

Dumpster Rental

When you rent a dumpster service, the debris removal company will drop a dumpster of your preferred size at your location. So, you fill the dumpster as you will and when you fill it up, the company can come around to pick it and haul it away. This is a perfect option for you if you are renovating your home or office. It is also a good choice if you are planning to declutter your home or office and you think the process will take a while. 

Truck Hauling

With a truck hauling service, the junk removal company will a truck that has a dumpster attached at the back. The workers from the company will help you haul all of your debris into the dumpster. When they are done, they will drive the truck along with the dumpster away with it. This option is perfect for people who are doing clean-ups after moving out or moving into a new place. In general, it's perfect for people who have their trash together and want to take it away. 

After taking your trash away, most debris removal companies then proceed to sort the junk. They first remove the items that need recycling  

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What Are The Types Of Debris?

Debris is not the same and they usually come in different shapes and sizes. However, they can easily be put together under broad categories depending on where the debris is collected. Usually, the type of debris will determine the type of debris removal service that you need.

Types Of Debris | SGPNow


That said, the following are the types of debris that you can have: 

1. Construction Debris:

Construction debris is typical waste that you get from construction, demolition, and renovation projects in residential and commercial buildings. Depending on the size and conditions of the debris, you can use a dumpster rental, truck haulage or you can drive the junk to a landfill by yourself. 

However, if you are doing things yourself, you need to take some extra precautions. In the US, some cities only allow you to drop construction debris at special construction landfill facilities where they can be sorted and recycled. The following are some of the common debris that makes up this category. 

  • Concrete: dense debris that usually requires that you dispose of with a roll-off dumpster.
  • Roofing Shingle: Heavy debris and is mostly loaded in lone dumpsters, not with other loads. Shingles are recycled in some cities in the US. 
  • Wood/lumber: can be recycled, sold, donated, or reused if savaged properly. 
  • Carpeting: most companies will require that you cut the carpet into some specific length to allow easy transport. 
  • Wood/laminate flooring
  • Sliding  
  • Kitching sinks and bathroom furniture
  • Metals

2. Yard Debris:

Yard debris is mostly organic wastes and so you can easily dispose of them by composting them. However, you can also allow debris removal companies to do the job for you.

When you allow a debris removal company, they take your lawn waste and deposit them at the right facility. A majority of the debris company in the US have the tools needed to handle yard debris. You should however note that most of these companies treat yard debris differently from other types of debris. That is because they do not want the possibility of the yard debris contaminating other useful items.   

If you can, you should try and compost your yard waste on your own. The process is faster and it will not cost you much compared with hiring a debris company. More so, the compost will give you nutrient-rich manure that you can apply to your garden, lawn, or house plants if you have any. 

In some states of the US, composting yard debris is compulsory. In such states, there are composting facilities where people must drop their waste for composting. Therefore, ensure to do your research and know what is obtainable in your area before you proceed. If you are unsure, simply call your city's solid waste authority to get a better understanding.  

3. Debris Removal For Vacant Properties:

Trash removal for vacant properties can be a little dicey because its requirements will depend on the circumstance or purpose of the cleanout. Are you doing it for eviction, rehoming, repossession or death? The purpose is vital as it will determine to a large extent how the process of the trash out will go. 

For evictions which is the most common, most states in the US require that you have a legal eviction notice before you can remove personal property from a vacant house. This is where there is usually another issue. Most states do not have a clear line that differentiates between debris and what personal property is. In most cases, the mortgagee is allowed to use his sense of good judgment in determining which party of the property is debris and which ones are the personals. That means, they mostly just determine what is trash by judging through value.

That brings up a lot of gray areas as people might have things in their buildings which have sentimental value to them and might seem like trash. In a case where the mortgagee cannot differentiate between personal property and debris during the trash out, they can see a legal counsel. After the personals and trash have been removed, some states require that the mortgagee stores the personals for a while in hopes that the owner will come for collection. However, the owner will be subject to paying for storage when he comes for his property. Also, the owner of the property is responsible for the clean-out process as he will be charged as part of his eviction costs.  

4. Hazardous Waste

This is a special class of waste also called Household Hazardous Wastes (HHW). They are special because they require special methods of disposal. Therefore, you cannot mix this type of wastes with other waste in the waste bin or dumpsters. Also, you cannot bury them, burn them or dispose of them using any other unsafe methods. When you do so, you are directly putting yourself at risk as they could explode. You could also be putting the lives of other people and animals at risk as these wastes may find their way into drinking water. They can also create issues for nearby crops, pollute the air or even cause problems for wildlife around you.  

To prevent all these and more, all states in the US have special facilities where they process HHWs. In some communities, there are even special events where you can drop any hazardous waste that you have in your home. 

If you will want to use the service of a debris removal company to remove HHWs, you might have to discuss with them beforehand. Some companies charge more for HHWs because of the risks that come with handling them. The following are some household wastes that fall under the category of HHWs     

Here’s a quick breakdown of common types of HHWs:

  • Car Batteries 
  • Liquids like motor oil, antifreeze, household cleaners, toxic and flammable liquids, etc. 
  • Light bulbs especially fluorescent bulbs because they contain small amounts of mercury.
  • Medications
  • Explosives like fireworks, fuel, lighter fluid, oil, matches, etc.
  • Paint. 

Tools Needed to Complete Debris Removal

  • Brooms
  • Dump trailer or Debris company of your choice
  • Dust masks
  • Dustpans
  • extension cables 
  • First aid kit 
  • Gas-powered generator
  • gloves
  • mesh tarp (to cover the debris load if you are doing the job by yourself)
  • Mini-sledge hammer
  • portable lights (to light up dark areas)
  • Rake
  • Reciprocating saw 
  • Shop-vac
  • Shovel 
  • 1 to 2 boxes of garbage bags (preferably “contractor grade”) 
  • 16′ ratchet straps (this will help you cover and secure the debris load in place before you haul it away).
  • 2 to 4 heavy-duty garbage cans
  • 5-gallon gas can (for the generator)

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What Questions Do I Ask To Debris Removal Companies?

Debris companies are not the same, and therefore not all of them can offer you the type of service that you need. To get the best from the junk removal company, you should look for companies that have the right amount of experience and can attend to your junk the way it should be attended to. Similarly, you will need a company that will respect you and your property as they remove the junk. 

If this is your first time, the process can be overwhelming. However, by asking these few questions upfront, you might find it easy selecting the right junk removal company. 

  • Are You Insured?
  • One of the signs of a professional junk removal company is insurance. With insurance, the company protects themselves and you in the event of any accidents or loss. To be sure, ask the company for their certificate of insurance (COI).

  • What Types Of Debris Can You Remove? 
  • Some junk removal companies do not accept some type of wastes like HHWs. So to avoid wasting your time, ensure that the company accepts the debris that you wish to remove.  

  • Do You Recycle?
  • A responsible company should be able to recycle some of your items that can be recycled.

  • How Fast Can You Get The Job Done?
  • Most debsis removal companies offer second-day removal services. Be sure to understand how the company works and see if the timing works for you. 

  • Can You Explain Your Pricing Structure?
  • This is important so you know ahead if you can afford the service. Also, pricing tells you a little about the professionalism of the company. While you seek affordable options, beware that an extremely cheap offer is usually a sign of low quality.  

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    How Do Debris Removal Companies Charge For Services?

    The amount you pay for debris removal depends on the type of company in question. Also, the extent of the service that you need will determine the cost that you get. On average, however, trash removal will cost anywhere between $70 to $570.Homeowners might pay between $150 and $350 which is equivalent to about $1.5 per square foot.

    On the other hand, trash removal in commercial areas might cost between $210 and $500. Usually, a full-sized truck containing a load of 450 cubic feet will cost about $550 to $570 to haul away.  

    How Does Debris Removal Help The Environment?

    Debris removal is beneficial to everyone concerned and also the environment. Unlike regular trash removal services that just help you remove your trash and dump them in landfills, junk removal services go further than that. 

    While regular trash removal services pile up waste in landfills, junk haulers help reduce the amount of waste in landfills. They do this by ensuring they dispose of waste in a way that is safe for the environment. That is, they first sort your waste before they dispose of them. In most cases, they donate some of your items that are still usable and remove the recyclable items from the waste before dumping the rest in landfills. 

    Recycling is particularly important especially when you consider that only 31% of American adults recycle their waste. Most of the junk hauling companies in the US however help to bridge that gap by providing recycling services. Most of them have some green initiatives that clearly define their goals for recycling. Therefore, debris removal companies play a huge role in reducing wastage and promoting recycling when they can.