Skip Bag Guide for Beginners
Skips bags are a useful option for containing and disposing of rubbish, especially small amounts of heavy, messy waste. But with lots of suppliers, bag sizes and collection options – it can be quite confusing about how to use them. To make everything easier, here is our definite skip bag guide for beginners:
- Overview – what is a skip bag and how does it work?
- Skip Bag Suppliers – who supplies skip bags and where can I buy them cheaply?
- Sizes – what sizes do skip bags and Hippobags come in?
- Weight restrictions – do skip bags or Hippobags have weight restrictions?
- What sort of jobs are skip bags good for?
- What sort of jobs are skip bags bad for?
- Contents – what can I put in them?
- Prohibited items – what waste can’t be put in them?
- Collection Cost – how much does it cost to have a skip bag or Hippobag collected?
- Extras – Are there any hidden extras/restrictions?
- Collection location – where do I leave my skip bag?
- Collection speed – how long does a collection take?
- Man and van skip bag collection (instead of a crane lorry) – what are the perks?
- Council dump – can I take my bag to the tip?
- Alternatives to a skip bag or Hippo bag
Skip bags are strong, large and waterproof bags used like a small skip. You buy the bag and then pay a waste contractor to take it away once you have filled it. Collection of the bag is either by a lorry with a crane that lifts the bag up and onto the truck, or by a crew that empties the contents of the bag into the truck by hand.
The best known brand of skip bag is Hippobag. Hippobags can be purchased from Hippowaste direct or from major DIY chains like B&Q, Travis Perkins and Wickes. There are three sizes of Hippobag (1 yard, 1.5 yard and 4.5 yard) and these cost around £11.99, £13.99 and £31.99 (including VAT) respectively depending on the retailer. The cheapest place to buy a Hippobag at the time of this post is in store at B&Q.
Although Hippo bags may seem relatively expensive compared to other skip bags, they are generally much thicker and heavier than other brands. This is because Hippowaste collects its bags using specialist lorries that have a crane to load the bag. The bags have to be strong enough to hold up to 1.5 tonnes of waste and be lifted by crane up onto the lorry without splitting. So, if you’re planning on filling a skip bag with very heavy waste like soil or rubble AND you want to use Hippowaste to remove it, then it’s important you buy a Hippobag.
On the other hand, if you do not have lots of very heavy waste and/ or are happy for a collection crew to empty the bag by hand (rather than it be lifted by a crane), there is less need for such a high spec skip bag as Hippobag. Instead you could just buy a standard bulk bag from any builders merchant, DIY store or a bulk bag specialist like 123bigbags. A 1 yard (900x900x900mm) bulk bag (which is the same dimensions as the Hippo MIDIBAG) costs about £6 including VAT. Even less if you buy in bulk. Much cheaper than a MIDIBAG which costs around £12.
Hippobags come in three sizes: Midibag (1 Cubic Yard), a Megabag (1.5 cubic yards) and the Hipposkip bag (4.5 cubic yards). A standard builder’s bag is 1.0 cubic yard (often called a 1 tonne bag).
Standard Builders Bag
|Cubic Yards||1.0 cubic yard||1.0 cubic yard||1.5 cubic yard||4.5 cubic yards|
|Metric Dimensions||900 x 900x 900mm||900 x 900 x 900mm||1800 x 900x 700mm||2100 x 1650 x 1000mm|
|Well known junk that takes up the same volume||
|Dishwasher||Tall Fridge or Bath||Bathroom (or small kitchen) ripout|
Hippowaste apply the following weight restrictions on collections of their Hippo bags.
- Midibag – 1 tonne
- Megabag – 1.5 tonnes
- Hipposkip – 1.5 tonnes
However, if you use a man and van clearance company like AnyJunk to collect your skip bag, the maximum weight allowance per bag is 500kg. As a general guide, a 500kg weight allowance is more than enough if you are getting rid of a mix of bulky waste (like a kitchen or bathroom rip out), but not if you fill the bag entirely with very heavy, dense waste like soil, rubble or broken tiles. In which case, you’re better off booking a collection from Hippowaste.
Skip bags are essentially good for the same kind of projects that skips are good for, but on a smaller-scale. In other words, they are ideal for small garden, household or DIY projects which have quite a bit of messy, loose waste and/or very heavy waste like bricks, soil or broken tiles.
They are also a great alternative to a skip if there is very limited access and not enough space to put down a skip. Instead you can use a few skip bags and locate them in different places around the property. Although remember that if you plan on using a crane lorry to remove them, you must place them close to the road so the crane can reach. Equally, if you put a skip bag on the road, you may require a skip permit. You can find out more about permits and fees here.
Unlike skips, because the bags are material rather than metal, there is close to no chance of damage to your driveway. Skips on the other hand have a habit of marking driveways that are soft tarmac or block paved.
Other than using them to get rid of your waste, a skip bag is also a very useful thing to have around the home. You can use it for all manner of tasks, like collecting up fallen leaves, storing logs, or protecting your car if you take stuff to the tip yourself.
Although great for small jobs, skip bags are usually not a good choice if you have enough waste to fill a skip. In which case, hiring a skip is normally much more economical.
Equally, skip bags are not the rubbish disposal service to go for if you need labour. With a skip bag you have to do all the loading yourself. Whereas with a man & van clearance, all the labour is included in the price.
You can put most things in a skip bag apart from hazardous waste. The exact list of what is and is not allowed depends on the waste company you use to remove or empty it. But in general anything you can put in a skip, you can normally put in a skip bag.
Items typically prohibited by collectors of skip bags are:
- Fluorescent tubes
- Medical waste
- Gas bottles
- Fire extinguishers
- Paint and cans of paint
- Any toxic substances
- Illegal items
- Oil, cooking oil, petrol, diesel
- TVs or computer monitors
- Raw meat/fish (unless packaged)
- Fridges, freezers, aircon units
If you are unsure of whether you can put an item in your skip bag, contact company who you are booking to collect it.
|Bag||Size (Lx W x Hx||Hippowaste||Clearabee||AnyJunk|
|90cm x 90cm x 90cm||n/a – only collects Hippobags||£99.99
|90cm x 90cm x 90cm||£112.99
|180cm x 90cm x70cm||£144.99
|210cm x 165cm x 100cm||£209.99
The great thing about skip bags is that the collection comes at a fixed price – unlike man and van clearance where the collection size can be debated. You just fill a skip bag and it gets collected for the price advertised.
AnyJunk collects a Hippo Midibag for £90 per bag and a Megabag for £110 per bag (including VAT). This includes the loading of the waste, sweep-up after and disposal.
The big extra cost with a skip bag, is the cost of collection. Some people mistakenly purchase a Hippo bag in a store and think collection is included in the original price – but obviously this is not the case!
Other extras are the same as with skips – namely if you overfill the bag (take care to ensure your waste is not higher than the top of the bag) or put certain special items in it that cost more to dispose of than general waste (eg. mattress, fridge, TV).
If you book a collection company that uses a crane lorry to remove the bag, you’ll need to leave it somewhere that it is easily accessible for the lorry – normally within 4 metres of a public highway. The best place for this is normally outside your house on your driveway, front garden or on the road (but be aware that you may also need to pay permit fees). It’s not a good idea to place the bag in a location where there is a possibility of something obstructing the crane.
If you use a man & van collection service like AnyJunk for your bag, you can leave the bag anywhere on the premises, including your back garden!
There’s no need for anyone to be on the premises when the bag is collected – just leave it in an accessible place and it can be collected without you being there.
Different collection companies offer different response speeds. Hippowaste states on its website that it will normally collect within 5 days. AnyJunk can collect anywhere in the UK within 24 hours, and in most cities on the same day. In London we also offer collection within 2 hours.
Other than being cheaper (unless you have very heavy waste), one of the biggest advantages of having your skip bag or Hippo bag collected by a man and van company is that you can keep the bag and reuse it afterwards. Companies such as Hippowaste take the bag away when the waste is collected, but with AnyJunk you’ll be left with the bag ready for another use. This is a great way to save money on your next waste collection and also much better for the environment.
Instead of using a waste contractor to collect it, you can always put the bag in the back of your car and drive it to your local dump. It’s great for protecting the inside of your car from messy waste, but bear in mind that skip bags once filled are often very hard to move because of their weight.
If a skip bag doesn’t seem like the right option for you, try skip hire or man and van rubbish removal instead. Skips are best when you have a lot of heavy waste and/or the waste is generated over a period of time. Man and van rubbish clearance is typically cheaper and easier, particularly if you have a mix of waste, rather than bricks and soil, and they include all the labour.