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5 Tips on How and Why to Rent a Dumpster

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Let’s be right up front here; this is an article about dumpster. It’s not rocket science, as they say. Almost everyone knows what a dumpster is for (except perhaps for your slightly nutty great aunt Ida) so let’s just cut right to the chase and talk about why you would need one and how to get a great deal on one.

1. How Big of a Dumpster Will I Need?

Most people don’t have tons of money to just throw around, especially on a dumpster, so why pay $600 for a dumpster when you only need a $300 dumpster? How do you know which one you need? It can be confusing for people because dumpsters are listed in yards (such as 10 yard or 20 yard) and not in terms we can understand like “Kitchen Remodel” or “2 Car Garage Clean Out”.

To avoid paying for more than you need, use these tips:

A 10 Yard Dumpster equals about 3 pickup trucks full of junk
A 20 Yard Dumpster equals about 6 pickup trucks. This is the most common size homeowners will use when they remove carpet, roof shingles, or clean out the basement
A 30 Yard Dumpster is 9 pickup trucks full of trash. This would be for an addition to the home or new construction
Anything bigger would be for commercial or industrial purposes most likely, but if you have plans on tearing down your house and starting from scratch, you might need one of those 40-yard dumpsters.

Rent a Dumpster

2. Know What You Can’t Dump

A whole lot of people think that dumpsters mean they can put anything, literally, anything in there and it will disappear like magic. Fortunately for your neighbors incessantly barking St. Bernard, this isn’t the case. Things you cannot put in a dumpster include:

  • Hazardous Waste (such as used motor oil, gasoline, herbicides, pesticides, solvents, and paint cans that still have liquid paint) Your teenage daughters makeup collection is not hazardous waste no matter what it looks like so, feel free to dump it.
  • Flammable Liquids (including aerosol cans, transmission oil, antifreeze, and diesel fuel)
  • Misc. Items including refrigerators, tires, batteries, dead animals, medical waste or fluorescent tubes.


3. Price Isn’t Everything

As a matter of principle, you should always shop around, but keep in mind that sometimes, price isn’t everything. Consider a company’s reputation as well. You might save $100 bucks on the dumpster, but you are going to be the bane of the neighborhood if your dumpster starts to smell and the company keeps promising to pick it up and doesn’t. Your neighbor’s St. Bernard will be paying your front yard a visit for weeks.
Oh, and about those pick-up times. Be certain that the company has access to the dumpster, so they can haul it away when promised.

4. What Is In Your Trash?

Be sure that you mention to the company what you want the dumpster for, so you don’t get hit with a hefty and unexpected charge later. Many companies will not accept a mixture of materials. For example, they might not want both gravel and your old furniture. Tell them what you plan on using the dumpster for, so they can explain some of the dos and don’ts to you.

Cheap Dumpster Rental

5. Don’t Top It Off

While many of us are in the habit of topping off our gas tanks and soda refills, this isn’t what you should do with your dumpster, even if you think that everything still “fits.” Everyone wants to get their money’s worth, but you shouldn’t consider this when filling your dumpster.

First, not only do the trucks that will pick up your dumpster have weight limits that are set by law, they also have fill limits. Most cities or counties have these laws to ensure that items don’t fall out or get blown away and cause damage or pollution.

If you overfill the dumpster over the line that is usually painted on the dumpster, don’t be surprised if the company refuses to pick it up, asks you to rent another dumpster for the extra items, or tells you to get busy and remove that junk yourself. Now ask yourself, where are you going to put those 200 broken cat carriers your aunt Molly left you in her will?

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