Design & DIY

How to safely dispose of leftover materials in your workshop

Empty and Old Paint Cans Ready to be Disposed Photo by IkeHayden/Shutterstock

What DIY projects have you got lined up for the cottage this summer? Whether your goal is a birdhouse or a boathouse, you’ll likely have building materials left over. After repurposing and recycling whatever you can, here’s how to dispose of the rest safely. (If you have items you’re not sure about, ask your local municipality where they should go. Not all landfills accept residential construction materials. You may have to take them to a waste disposal site or hire a private waste hauling service.)

Home fixtures
Donate cabinets, doors, windows, flooring, lighting and other fixtures in good condition to Habitat ReStore or a salvage store.

Hazardous liquids
Take leftover paints, thinners, cleaners, oils, grease, glue, sealers, and other liquids that are flammable, poisonous, explosive and/or corrosive to a waste disposal site (never pour them down the drain). Not all sites accept hazardous waste; call to confirm.

Ask if your municipality composts untreated wood, wood shavings, and sawdust. Small quantities of pressure-treated or manufactured wood (plywood, particle board, wood panelling, HDF, MDF) go in the garbage.

Take scrap metal, including things like siding, furnaces, and water tanks, to a waste disposal site (fees may apply). You can also contact a metal recycler in your area.

Other building materials
Small amounts of asphalt, shingles, bricks, masonry blocks, ceramics, carpet, cement, grout, drywall, tile, glass, mirrors, fibreglass, and aluminum siding go in the garbage. Take large quantities to a waste disposal site (a fee may apply).

If your cottage was built before 1990, there might be asbestos in the walls, crawl space, or attic or around hot water pipes and tanks. Disturbing or removing asbestos poses a serious health hazard, and safety precautions are necessary. It’s best to hire a qualified person or company to assess and safely handle and dispose of asbestos.

Take unusable appliances of all sizes to a landfill (a fee may apply).

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