How to Correctly Dispose of Old Insulation

A thorough assessment

Even before removing any insulation, it’s important to assess the condition of the materials. The materials may have lost the capacity to insulate – there may be deterioration – there may even be asbestos left from a previous installation. What’s important is to determine whether removal and disposal is immediate and critical, or just routine. Here, it’s wise to get a professional to do the assessment, and to offer viable options for removal, disposal, and reinstallation of new material. 

Every home is different

In every home, new or old, the extent of disposal will be different. But before any disposal, there’s the removal process – again, better handled by a professional with experience. And while some removals will be simple and straightforward, others could turn out to be challenging, and even unsafe. For professionals, every removal and disposal is expedited with specialized equipment and with concern for the health and wellbeing of occupants – this must always be a high priority.

Disposal experience

Insulation removal and disposal requires experience. In most cases, this is work that the average homeowner cannot manage effectively. Thorough removal and safe disposal requires industrial vacuum equipment, and an exterior disposal facility to store and transport waste insulation in a safe manner. In fact, in many municipalities, there are strict regulations for the collection, storage and transportation of old insulation material. This is not the right time for disposal shortcuts.

The DIY preference


The do-it-yourself approach to removal and disposal of old insulation is precarious. The work is difficult and time-consuming, particularly without the right equipment. But worse, removing old insulation can be unsafe for a homeowner – there could be mold – there could be contamination – there could be asbestos. In short, the health and safety risks aren’t warranted. Professionals have the equipment, the know-how, and the experience to manage the entire process from end to end.

Disposal regulations

Most municipalities around the country have strict regulations regarding waste disposal and recycling. Indeed, the rules are even more stringent with hazardous materials. For example, old fiberglass batt insulation, as well as other insulation products, must be disposed in a special way. For that matter, old insulation may have contained vermiculite, which may have contained asbestos fibers – this is regulated for disposal and best handled by professionals who know how.

After the disposal

Clearly, the removal and disposal of old insulation is only the first step when reinsulating a space. Before installing new insulation, homeowners should consider doing repairs and retrofits that will ensure performance and long life for the newly installed materials. This may necessitate air sealing the space, installing an air barrier or vapour barrier, even upgrading the ventilation. The idea, of course, is to correct any previous inadequacies, and guarantee energy efficiency.
At Great Northern Insulation, removal and disposal of old insulation is expertly managed by in-house crews. They have years of relevant experience; they employ industrial disposal equipment; they abide by all municipal regulations; and they ensure completely safe waste disposal.