When neighbours are having a clearout or moving house, it’s common to see items such as perfectly good pieces of furniture sitting in a skip that might seem ripe for the picking.
It’s going to be thrown away, so what’s the harm in picking out that chair for the spare room? It’ll free up a bit more space in the skip for the owner, right?
It’s important to remember that while it might look like whoever hired the skip doesn’t want the item anymore, there are a few reasons why you can’t just help yourself…
Skips are often used to throw out things that the person who hired it no longer needs. Usually, they arrange a time for the skip to be delivered to their property and during the hire period (SunSkips’ standard hire period is seven days) they fill it up with their rubbish before it’s taken away by the waste management company to be processed at their site.
However, it’s perfectly reasonable for someone to use a skip for temporary storage to keep things safe during a transition period. Perhaps they had easy access to a skip so it seemed like a safe place to put things (skips can keep family members and the public safe from jagged edges, for example).
The materials inside may be designated for another project. Old construction materials like bricks could be used to build a flower bed, furniture can be donated to charity, and items like tiles might be sold to local tradesmen.
Skips are usually placed on private land (a driveway, for example) to avoid the need to obtain a permit (skips placed on the side of public roads need the relevant legal paperwork).
So chances are, if you’re going through someone’s skip, you’re actually trespassing and not in a good position if the person who hired it decides to take legal action against you.
If the skip is on public land, the contents still belong to the person who hired the skip until it’s taken away, so removing items is considered theft.
So in answer to the question “is it illegal to take things out of someone else’s skip?”: yes, it is.
If you have seen an item in a skip you think you could find a use for, wait for an opportune moment to approach the homeowner (while they’re on a coffee break and not when they’re loading the moving van, for example) and ask if you can have it.
By simply asking permission, you’ll prevent any unnecessary tension between you and your neighbour and grab yourself a freebie in the process.
If you’ve hired a skip and you don’t want people helping themselves to your waste, it’s best to hire one with a lockable lid.
SunSkips’ 14-yard RoRo (roll-on/roll-off) skips can be hired with lockable doors to keep people from accessing its contents (skips with lockable lids are also useful for preventing fires if your waste is flammable).
Need to hire a skip with a lockable lid? Contact SunSkips on 01449 360 033 or 01223 976 543 so we can get the booking process started, as well as taking care of the permit to place it on the road.