Skip Hire FAQs

How Much Does A Skip Cost? 

To learn more about the cost of skips, please see our guide.

Do I need a skip permit?

If the skip that you’re hiring is placed on your own land, either on a driveway or front or back garden, then you do not require a permit. Smaller sizes of skips will fit comfortably on the front driveway of many houses, but if you require something larger, then it’s more than likely that it will need to positioned on the street, and that is when a permit will be required.

Permits are issues by your local council but it is not your responsibility to acquire one. That responsibility falls to the skip hire company that you are using. The council will require them to show their waste management and transport licenses, as well as public liability insurance to a minimum value of £10million.

If you are concerned that your skip hire company are excessively marking up the cost of a permit without your knowledge, you need not worry. A visit to your local authority’s website and pages on waste management will tell you exactly how much a permit costs.

Is it illegal to take things from a skip?

UK law governing whether or not one can take something from a skip is patchy at best. First, one needs to look at the definition of theft. Under the Theft Act 1978 – A person is guilty of theft is he dishonestly appropriates the property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.

It could be argued that anything placed in a skip is no longer wanted by the owner, hence taking it deprives them of nothing.

However, it’s also worth noting that many skips are kept on private land, and therefore if someone is seen taking items from a skip, they could be accused of trespassing. Furthermore, many builders use skips to store, for example, copper pipes that they remove from a property, with the intention of selling them for scrap. Taking those items would be depriving the builder of his or her intended use of those pipes, and that would be classed as theft.

The simplest solution, if you see something in a skip that you’d like to acquire, is to ask the owner if you can take it away.

Can I put my rubbish in someone else’s skip?

Putting your rubbish in someone else’s skip is classed as fly tipping and therefore it is illegal. At its basic level, it is a form of anti social behaviour and, as such, you could be issued with an Anti Social Behavioural Order if you’re caught.

Why is a skip called a skip?

The word ‘skip’ is believed to have come from the old English word ‘skep’ which meant basket. A skip is, at its core, an oversized waste basket, and these baskets were first called ‘skeps’ which evolved over time to the modern day ‘skips’ that we use today.

How much weight can a skip hold?

Skips are measured in terms of their cubic capacity, rather than the amount of weight that they can hold. Fortunately, the maths is very simple – whatever the cubic capacity, that same figure is the maximum weight in tonnes that the skip can hold.

When, for example, you’re looking at an 8 yard skip – fairly standard throughout the UK – the 8 yards refers to the cubic capacity, rather than the length or width. This also means that the skip can hold 8 tonnes.

However, we’re afraid it’s not that simple! If one were to search for 10 or 12 yard skips, also referred to as Maxi skips, they’d see that the maximum weight is also 8 tonnes. There are a number of weight restrictions in place when hiring a skip. Most domestic users are more concerned with size than weight, and it’s extremely unlikely that they would be looking to dispose of anything excessively heavy.

UK skip hire companies recommend that, if weight is an issue, that users consider hiring multiple skips and sharing that weight evenly amongst them.

Do skip companies recycle?

The short answer here is no, but that doesn’t mean that everything you throw into a skip is going to end up in landfill. Skip hire companies will have relationships with waste transfer stations throughout the UK.

These are not to be confused with the municipal recycling centres that are open to the public for domestic waste. These stations will sort the waste and process it accordingly. Some of it will be recycled, if the materials in question are appropriate, such as cardboard. Some materials will be converted into biomass fuel and some, such as metal pipes, will be repurposed wherever possible. Yes, some of the rubbish thrown into skips will end up in landfill, but the technology involved in processing waste is improving all of the time so that more and more of it can be recycled.

How to check if a skip has a permit

A permit is required for any skip placed on public land, and that usually means out in the street. The skip hire company have to acquire this permit and pass on the charges to the people actually hiring the skip. You can contact the waste management department of your local council to confirm that a permit has been granted for a particular skip, or you can ask the owners to show you the documentation.

Please note that skips placed on private land do not require a permit, so if your neighbour has one in their front garden, it may be an eyesore, but they are well within their rights to do so.

My neighbour’s skip is outside my house, what do I do?

We’d like to think that our neighbours are considerate people, but sadly that’s not always the case. If any part of their skip is on your property, then you have a right to demand that it be moved.

If the skip is in the street, then there are certain rules that apply with regard to how it is positioned:

The skip must not be placed within 15 metres of a junction. The skip must not cover or obscure any utility access points such as manhole covers or water outlets for the Fire Brigade. It must not block any driveways, pavements or entrances and exits to property.

As long as all of these criteria are met, and the right permit has been granted by the council, then the people hiring the skip have met their legal requirements. If there is an issue with a smell coming from the skip due to certain types of waste being thrown in there, then that would be a matter for the environmental health department, whose numbers can be found on your local authority’s website.

Can you put a skip on double yellow lines?

No you cannot. Skips, like motor vehicles, are subject to the same parking restrictions. Indeed if a skip is placed in a pay and display parking space, then payment for that parking must be made.

What size skip do I need for soil?

A reasonable question, but the fact is that there is not one dedicated size of skip that is suitable for soil – it all comes down to just how much soil you are looking of which to dispose. Remember that the cubic capacity of a skip is directly tied to the amount of weight that it can hold. If you’re looking to dispose of 4 tonnes of soil, then you’ll need a 4 yard skip.

What size skip do I need for a bathroom?

Skips come in a range of sizes, from mini skips with a 2 or 3 yard cubic capacity, up to 18 yard maxi skips. A home renovation project like a bathroom will typically require a 6 yard skip, but this is mostly to allow for the disposal of a bathtub.

A typical bathtub will measure 5 feet long, and a 4 yard midi skip is 6 feet long, so that would work at a pinch, and if that size of skip can fit in your driveway, you’ll avoid the expense of a permit.

A 6 yard skip is 10 feet long, and that can prove a little too large for some driveways, hence requiring a permit, but that can be a small price to pay against hiring a skip which turns out to be just a little too small.

Some believe that a shower room refit would require a smaller skip but, once again, shower screens can be 6-8 feet in height, so it’s important to take a look at the entire project before you hire your skip.

What size do I need for a kitchen?

The advice here would be not dissimilar to that for the bathroom above. Kitchen units take up very little space once they’re broken down, which means that the largest item likely to end up in the skip is the old kitchen sink.

Please note here that you cannot dispose of electrical items in a skip – it is against the WEEE Directive and therefore illegal. This means that any appliances will have to be removed by alternative means. Local waste recycling centres will take the likes of dishwashers, fridges and washing machines, but you’ll need to take them there yourself or arrange for them to be collected.

Your skip hire company may well be in a position to remove the items and dispose of them responsibly for you as a separate arrangement, but those items won’t be going into a skip.

The smallest size recommended here would be a 4 yard midi skip, but our best advice would be to consult with your builder, as they may well feel that a 6 or 8 yard Builders’ Skip could be a better proposition for you.

What size skip do I need for a mattress?

If disposing of a single mattress, a simple 2 yard mini skip will suffice. At only 4 feet in length, the mattress will need to be folded in. However if you are disposing of a single mattress, they will fit into a small hatchback with the seats folded down, and a quick trip to the local dump will save you a lot of time and money.

What size skip do I need for a house clearance?

We’d not want to insult your intelligence by suggesting that it all depends on the size of the house and the amount of stuff to be cleared, but that really is the case here.

For a three bed semi detached house, a 4 yard midi skip can suffice. It’s best to approach it from a different angle. Think in terms of how many bin bags you would fill in the clearance of the property. A midi skip like this will hold around 35 black bags’ worth, and that is quite substantial. Were you to look at a small builders’ skip at 6 yards, that would hold around 40 bags’ worth, all the way up to 55 bags for an 8 yard skip.

Of course, the larger the skip, the more likely you are to need a permit for it, so the best advice here is to opt for the largest size that you can fit on the property itself.

What size skip do I need for a double mattress?

When disposing of any mattress in a skip, consider folding it in, rather than simply dumping it. A 2 or 3 yard mini skip will work. Hiring a larger skip would seem to be a waste of money. It would be cheaper to hire a removal company or to contact a local charity shop who might take it away for free.

Do I need a skip permit for a private road?

Permits are required for skips to be placed on a public highway. If the skip is being placed on private land, which includes private roads, then a permit is not required.

Do I need a permit for a skip outside my house?

Your local council only require you to have a permit for your skip if it is placed on a public highway. If your skip is placed on your own driveway, back garden or indeed, anywhere within the property line, then a permit is not required.

As you will see from the question above, if you live on a private road then the skip can be placed in the street outside of your house without the need for a permit.

How long does it take to get a skip permit?

Whilst this varies from council to council, the general amount of time required is 4 days, but with some taking longer, it’s a good idea to get it organised earlier if you can.


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