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Dumpster Sizes and How Much They Hold

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Dumpster rental can be the perfect solution to streamline waste removal for a wide range of residential and commercial projects. A dumpster can be used to haul unwanted debris from household clean-ups, projects, and construction. Dumpsters come in a wide range of sizes, depending on the type and amount of material you need to dispose of. Here’s a look at dumpster types and sizes and how much they hold.

Common Types of Dumpsters

A dumpster can be permanent or temporary, open top or a compactor type, depending on what you need in the short and long term. Temporary dumpsters are often referred to as open top roll offs and come in 10, 15, 20, 30, and 40 yard containers. A roll-off dumpster is rolled off the back of a hauling truck and is often used at construction sites, home clean-outs, kitchen or bathroom remodeling, and roofing projects. Compactors are special dumpsters that crush debris or cardboard to allow maximum collection space.

Dumpster containers are also categorized according types of waste disposal: household debris (light household waste), clean construction debris, clean concrete, and stump & brush (trees and branches). Solid waste that goes to a landfill requires a different type of rental than a dumpster being used to collect, yard waste, construction, or concrete.

How Much Will a Dumpster Hold?

How much a dumpster will hold depends on the types of materials and weight involved. Here are some helpful hints for sizing up a dumpster for your particular project:

  • One cubic yard equals 1 yard wide times 1 yard long time 1 yard high. Thus, a 6 foot dumpster will hold 6 cubic yards.
  • A 72-inch couch will take up a third of a 6 cubic yard container.
  • A twin mattress will take up one-quarter of a 6 cubic yard container.
  • A 10 yard dumpster will hold 5 to10 tons, depending on materials.
  • Both 12 and 20 cubic yard dumpsters are the most popular rentals and accommodate small to medium residential projects.
  • 40 cubic yard dumpsters are ideal for major home renovations and demolition.

Additional Tips for Dumpster Rental

  • It’s important to keep in mind that most dumpster rental companies require that all items fit inside and are level with the top of the dumpster. Find out the rules and restrictions of the rental company to avoid wasting time and money.
  • Be sure not to mingle different types of debris: for instance, throwing bricks, wood, or rocks into a concrete dumpster is generally not permitted by dumpster rental companies.
  • Some cities require a permit for dumpster rental and use. Be sure you have the proper paperwork in place prior to rental.
  • Hazardous waste should never be put in a dumpster. The list of non-dumpster items includes TVs, refrigerators, paints, solvents, asbestos, liquids, and other chemicals and toxic materials. These items must be disposed of properly. Talk to your local government agency to get more information on proper hazardous waste disposal in your area.


If you are not sure what size of dumpster you need, speak to your dumpster rental agency. They will be able to assess your project and determine the type of dumpster that will best meet your needs.

See also:

Common Dumpster Sizes

Cost of Roll-Off Dumpsters

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