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What's different between Light and Heavy Waste?

News > What's different between Light and Heavy Waste?

Sydney's Skip Bins differ from other places around the country because there is a more pronounced use of different types of waste.  

In Sydney the waste or material to be recycled is categorised in many ways.  The material for recycling is quite easily understood as as the descriptions are pretty understandable on their own.  When skip bins are described as Brick, Concrete, Brick and Concrete, Soil and Green waste it is easy to guess what can be placed in the skip bin.

Heavy waste neatly stacked in one of Sydney's Skip Bins
Heavy waste neatly stacked in one of Sydney's Skip Bins

However there are two other descriptions for waste to be placed in skip bins that can cause confusion which we often get asked about what the difference is.  And just to make things a little more complicated there seems to be a trend for a third type of waste description for skip bins in Sydney coming along.

The first two terms we are talking about is Light General Waste and Heavy waste. Well in the first instance it can be summed up quite simply as Heavy waste is any type of waste that contains heavy materials that weigh in the region of about a tonne per cubic meter. Examples of materials that weigh more than a tonne per cubic meter would be Bricks, concrete, sand, soil, rocks, roof and floor tiles, aggregates, wet wood, and palm trees. All of these materials are heavy and as soon as there is any quantity of such material it is likely that it is going to be heavy and expensive to dispose of the waste material.

There are also suspicious materials that lurk on the fringes of heavy materials that can often cause a waste bin to be treated as heavy even though at first site it might not be expected. Materials such as carpet, carpet tiles, lino, gyprock, plasterbord, MDF, chipboard, hardwoods, sleepers, and coppice logs can cause problems with the weight of a bin. If small quantities of these materials are placed in skips with other material the weight might be OK.  But as soon as you get into serious volumes then you can get a good (heavy) weight of waste and the skip hire company is likely to be charge for extra waste when they try to dispose of the materials.  Carpet is a triple edged idiom (or was that sword) as it can be heavy in its own right, and it can be even heavier if it gets wet and then finally some tips or disposal sites seem to have a dislike for carpet and will charge extra just because they don't like the carpet.

So now we have gotten down to Light General waste.  Well the simple definition of Light General waste is basically any waste that doesn't have heavy waste material in it.  That is a very good rule of thumb and then we recommend checking the small print or any other additional qualifiers that might be on the description of a service.  We recommend this because form time to time some skip bin suppliers have rules like "General light waste can not contain any building materials".  These descriptions are the result of disputes about whether a skip filled with gyprock is heavy or not (and yes it is), or is a stack of wood heavy. So to avoid disputes sometimes it is easier to say no building material.

For General Light Waste you will also see descriptions that say that the bin can contain household and commercial waste.  These two terms get used again because the general waste to come out of a household or a commercial building are likely to be light (less than 150 kg per cubic meter) and hence less expensive to dispose of. From a household this might be things like old clothes, toys, kitchenware, cardboard, paper, manchester, furniture, white goods and other old bricker brack.  On  the commercial side this could be material from an office or warehouse clean up that would contain cardboard, paper, shelving, white-goods, unwanted product and broken or unwanted furniture.

Please note that I have omitted to mention mattresses, tyres, computers and other electrical goods.  That is because these items are either unpopular with disposal sites and or rejected by them.  See the articles of these specific items to learn more about it you want to know more. 

Carpet is often considered heavy wasteBricks Cause waste to be heavyHeavy Waste Bins Construction waste

  • Authored By:Stephen Shergold
  • Updated:24/09/2023