Do-It-Yourself Rodent Control

Disposing Of Materials That Might Contain Asbestos

In many construction projects that involve remodeling, particularly in older homes or buildings, there is a risk of finding products that contain asbestos during the demolition process. Asbestos helps shield against heat and corrosion, and was used in many building materials before its impacts on human health were recognized. Some products with asbestos may shed fibers that can get caught in the lungs. Prolonged exposure can lead to respiratory issues and lung disease.

When you have rented a dumpster for construction purposes, you need to ensure that you will not be improperly disposing of asbestos-containing materials.

What Products Might Contain Asbestos?

If you are homeowner or contractor doing some remodeling, be cautious about the following items, which could contain asbestos -- especially if they are more than 40 years old:

  • Flooring backing and tiles
  • Vinyl wall coverings
  • Pipe and wire insulation
  • Blown-in or spray-applied insulation
  • Roofing felt or shingles
  • Ceiling tiles and acoustical partitions
  • Fireproofing materials
  • Wallboard
  • Adhesives
  • Thermal paper products

This is not a comprehensive list. To know for sure whether your materials contain asbestos, you will need to have them tested by a certified asbestos inspector. If you determine that your materials do contain asbestos, they will need to be handled by an accredited contractor with experience in safely removing asbestos.

Can Some Asbestos Products Be Safely Disposed Of?

There are two types of asbestos products: Non-friable and Friable.

Non-friable materials can't be crushed in a way that would release asbestos fibers into the air. Examples are floor tiles, siding and some roofing materials. As long as you will be removing these carefully, wearing appropriate safety gear and not sanding or sawing it, these can be handled safely. While these can still be dangerous, they can be managed and disposed of through your waste management company.

Friable materials are those that can release fibers when compressed, like ceiling tiles, insulation and sprayed-on fireproofing. These may include non-friable items that might be broken or damaged during renovation or waste removal.

Some non-friable materials, like floor tiles and construction mastic, may not need to be removed by an asbestos expert. Check with your waste disposal company and state environmental agency for the laws that govern you, as they can vary between areas.

Disposing of Non-Friable Asbestos

If your state does not require a specialist to remove floor tiles or certain other materials, you can do so. Work with your waste management company to make sure that you can use your rented dumpster to contain the materials. They will usually require you to fill out a form and give them extra notice when the materials should be picked up, as they may need to be disposed of in a particular area. The specific bags with asbestos waste will need to be properly labeled.

For safe disposal: Wet the tiles, then place them in boxes. Put the boxes in plastic that is at least 6 mils thick and seal it so it is air tight. Your waste management firm or state regulations may require it to be double bagged.

You'll also want to take proper precautions while working with the material. Use a respirator with a HEPA filter and a disposable body covering. When you're done, wipe down nearby walls and ceilings with a damp cloth and take a shower to make sure no fibers have gotten on your body.

If you have any doubts about the materials you're removing or your own safety, please consult an asbestos expert at places like Peterson's Service Corp and do not dispose of anything questionable in your rented dumpster. You may be subject to fines and may be exposed to health risks if you improperly handle asbestos-containing materials.