Construction debris--what's the most economic and legal option?

14 Replies


I'm rehabbing my first investment property soon.  This townhouse is in Newark. While it has an attached garage and small shared driveway with the townhouse next door, i'm pretty sure the next door neighbor will not take well to a dumpster parked by his/her car.

Any insights on what i should do with the reno trash?

Thanks in advance for any pearls.

pile it all up in the garage and call 800 got junk they come in pick it all up for you and dump it

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@Helena Chen - I'm really not sure what your options are unless you want to park the dumpster in your lawn.  As long as there is somewhere else they can park, I can't imagine it being a problem - unless this project was going to last for months.  Couldn't they park in their garage or the street?  Maybe give them a nice gift or cash? 

Why not have the contractor start at the back of the home and work forward, moving the debris to the front as they go?  Doing it that way solves your problem but creates 2 trips to the dumps....

There’s the rub.

First, Newark is still an urban environment.
The space outside of the home, ie Street, is considered a part of the city’s property. I’d have to get a permit to park a dumpster there. Additionally, there’s condo by laws I’ll have to abide by.

Second, I’m operating as my own GC. So you’re talking to the contractor and the primary person doing the moving of the trash.


Put a few bags out each week until it’s gone. Or if you’re around when the trash guys come offer them some $$ to take it all. Don’t fill the bags up so much that they’re heavy.

I did a 4 unit rehab in town where I could.r store debris. In this case I towed a trailer everyday to fill with trash and took it to the dump at the end of the day. I also did as max suggested, meet the trash men in the morning with a $20 bill and help them throw the bags in

If there is no space for a dumpster, search craigslist for hauling/trash removal.  They show up and take it away, should be the most economical way to get rid of it.  Most of the guys will be glad for the work and show up within an hour of your call.

@Helena Chen send me a message.  My brother owns and operates a dumpster/container business.  He has some small dumpsters that are ideal for the situation you are describing.  Every once in a while I go out with him on a drop-off (mostly because it's fun to ride in the truck!) and we happened to drop-off a container in Newark last week for a town house rehab project.

The City of Newark will not take any construction debris that you put out in the curb. The sanitation workers will leave your bags at the curb. They are under a lot of pressure to enforce the rules.

Besides, with the crack down on dumping (thank the heavens!), I would not risk leaving construction debris out by the curb which might be interpreted as dumping.

Worry not. I hadn’t planned on irresponsibly leaving construction trash on the curb. Hence the title—economic AND legal. Don’t want to deal with fines and the ire of my new neighbors.

Volume is all in this game. If it's large, why isn't getting the permit for putting the container on the street an option? That's the way it's done here, most row houses have nowhere to put it off the street. If it's small, and over time, you can dribble it into the bags. When I've demoed plaster, I put like 15 lbs in each residential garbage bag with other garbage till it's gone. If you put it out and it's clearly nothing but a empty bag with some heavy rubble they won't take it, but done this way it works fine. Small bundles of lumber about 4' can be put out too, but only a couple at a time.  

But plaster builds up REAL fast, more than 100 sq ft is beyond the practical, and you'll need to pay for either a dumpster or a hauler.  A licensed hauler. A roofer told me about being stopped and ticketed because they spotted debris in the back and he did not have the license. They're trying to crack down on illegal dumping.

Having done trash removal every way I know of from myself to a Craigslist guy to putting it with the regular trash, I have found the best, fastest, least aggravating way is just getting a dumpster. I love saving money, but if I were you I would get the permit, get the dumpster on the street as soon as you need it, and just get it done.

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