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Dumpster Size Guide: Choosing the Right Dumpster for Your Project
6 minute read
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Tim Forestell
August 28, 2023

Dumpster Size Guide: Choosing the Right Dumpster for Your Project

Dumpsters play a crucial role in waste management for both residential and construction projects. Selecting the right dumpster is essential to ensure efficient waste disposal.

This guide will help you understand the factors influencing your choice, the differences between residential and construction dumpsters, how to estimate the appropriate size for construction projects, what you can fit inside dumpsters, considerations for unique materials, and common mistakes to avoid.

What Factors Determine the Right Dumpster Size?

When choosing a dumpster size, several factors should be considered before making your selection.

Project Type: There are many different project types including home cleanout, renovation, landscaping, and construction. There are even a variety of renovation sizes including single-room renovations, floor renovations, or home additions. The type of project will influence the amount of waste generated.

Amount of Waste: Estimate the volume of waste you'll produce. Overestimating avoids capacity issues while underestimating might lead to insufficient space. For example, a kitchen renovation will typically produce more waste than a bedroom renovation due to the appliances.

Available Space: Consider the physical space on your property where the dumpster will be placed.

Weight Restrictions: Different dumpsters have weight limits; exceeding these limits might result in additional charges.

Budget Considerations: Larger dumpsters typically come with higher rental costs. While it's essential to choose a size that meets your needs, you should also weigh the financial implications and find a balance between dumpster size and your budget.

Local Regulations: Different municipalities and regions have varying regulations concerning dumpster placement and sizes. It's important to be aware of these regulations to ensure compliance. Some areas might have restrictions on commercial dumpster sizes and require you to have a permit.

Frequency of Waste Removal: If you anticipate creating a lot of waste volume over a short period, you might opt for a larger dumpster to avoid frequent emptying. On the other hand, smaller dumpsters could suffice for projects with a more extended timeline or intermittent waste generation.

Residential vs. Construction Dumpster Sizes: What's the Difference?

Dumpsters are an integral part of waste management for both residential and construction purposes. However, the waste generated by these two categories differs significantly in terms of volume, type, and disposal needs. Here's a comparison to help you find the best dumpster for renovations and your needs:

Residential Dumpster Dimensions Chart

Residential Dumpster Sizes
Dumpster SizeDimensionCapacity (cubic yds)Common UsesTrash Bag Equivalent
2-Yard Dumpster6' x 3' x 3'2Small cleanouts, yard waste20 Large Bags
4-Yard Dumpster6' x 4' x 4'4Single-room renovations and small projects40 Large Bags
6-Yard Dumpster6' x 5' x 6'6Medium-sized cleanouts, larger yard projects60 Large Bags
8-Yard Dumpster6' x 6' x 7'8Multiple-room cleanouts, moderate projects80 Large Bags
10-Yard Dumpster12' x 6' x 3'10Larger cleanouts, small construction projects100 Large Bags
15-Yard Dumpster12' x 8' x 4'15Home renovations, larger cleanouts, heavy materials150 Large Bags

Construction Dumpster Dimensions Chart

Commercial Dumpster Sizes
Dumpster SizeDimensionCapacity (cubic yds)Common UsesPickup Truck EquivalentTrash Bag Equivalent
15-Yard Dumpster12' x 8' x 4'15Home renovations, larger cleanouts, and heavy materials5-6150 Large Bags
20-Yard Dumpster22' x 8' x 4'20Medium-sized construction projects, sizable cleanouts, remodeling6-8200 Large Bags
30-Yard Dumpster22' x 8' x 6'30Major construction projects, extensive cleanouts, large home renovations9-12300 Large Bags
40-Yard Dumpster22' x 8' x 8'40Large-scale projects, significant cleanouts12-16400 Large Bags

It's important to note that these residential dumpster sizes and capacities are approximate and can vary slightly depending on the dumpster rental company. Consulting with a dumpster rental provider to confirm the exact specifications of the dumpsters they offer will help you make an informed decision.

How to Estimate the Dumpster Size for Construction Projects?

While we've covered the factors that determine finding the right dumpster size, it's important to assess the scope of work you think will be required. You can use the chart above to find unit comparisons to pickup trucks and trash cans, but there are a few more factors that impact estimating the right size:

  1. Materials: You'll want to make a list of the materials you'll be disposing of, including dimensions. For example, appliances are going to take up more space than wood and installation, so kitchen renovations will take up a lot of space.

  2. Debris Type: Different materials require varying amounts of space. For instance, bulky items like wood take up more room than smaller debris like bricks.

  3. Project Scale: Consider the size of the project area and the amount of waste generated.

Dumpster Capacities: What Can You Fit Inside?

Dumpsters can hold various items, including:

  • Household Debris: Furniture, appliances, clothing, and general clutter.

  • Construction Debris: Wood, drywall, concrete, roofing materials, and more.

  • Yard Waste: Branches, leaves, grass clippings, and soil.

Are There Specific Dumpsters for Unique Materials?

Certain materials require special disposal due to their hazardous nature or recycling requirements:

  • Electronics: Dispose of electronics separately to prevent environmental harm.

  • Hazardous Waste: Chemicals, paints, and other hazardous materials must be handled according to local regulations.

  • Concrete and Asphalt: Separate dumpsters might be needed for heavy materials like concrete and asphalt.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Dumpster Size

To prevent issues during your waste disposal process, avoid these mistakes:

  • Underestimating Waste: Always err on the side of caution when estimating the amount of waste.

  • Ignoring Weight Limits: Exceeding weight restrictions can result in additional charges.

  • Overestimating Space: Choose a dumpster that fits comfortably in your available space.

  • Environmental Impact: Selecting the appropriate dumpster size can also have environmental implications. If you have electronic and chemical waste you will need to dispose of it correctly to not face additional charges.

Selecting the right dumpster size is a critical step in ensuring the smooth and efficient management of waste for any project. Whether you're tackling a residential cleanout, a renovation, or a large-scale construction endeavor, understanding the factors that influence your choice can save you time, money, and potential headaches.

By considering the type of project, estimating the amount of waste accurately, evaluating available space, and understanding weight restrictions, you can make an informed decision on the dumpster size that suits your needs.

By following the guidance provided in this dumpster size guide, you'll be better equipped to choose the perfect dumpster size for your specific project, contributing to a cleaner environment and a more organized waste management process.

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Tim Forestell
Tim Forestell is one of DOZR’s co-founders and CCO. Tim got started in the industry as VP Operations for Forestell Landscaping before founding DOZR with Kevin and Erin. Aside from the amazing team at DOZR, his favourite thing about DOZR are the customers. Working with DOZR renters every day gives him a peek at the evolution of different projects and hearing stories about projects being developed from start to finish.
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