What Size Dumpster Do I Need?

One of the biggest challenges in doing a major remodel project around the house is finding the right size dumpster. This is because there are so many variables.

There are lots of sizes to choose from.

They are built on a scale that is difficult for the average person to visualize.

Most people rarely need to rent one, so we have no experience.

It is hard to imagine how big your project will look when it is dumped in a dumpster.

We are going to try to demystify the process a bit.

Garbage Bags

You’ve probably already looked at the website of a local dumpster dealer and you’ve seen a picture of an average scale human standing in front of an average scale dumpster.

This is meant to be helpful. Really it is. However, we seldom think of our garbage as being scaled with our body.

Instead, we are much more familiar with the size of a garbage bag. We handle those frequently. We have a sense of their size.  So in order to help you visualize it, we are going to explain it in terms of garbage bags.

Your dumpster choices will be marked in terms of “cubic yards” or “yd³”

On average, 1 cubic yard looks about like a medium size dresser, or about 6 trash bags.

Your smallest dumpster choice, the transition point where it makes more sense to rent a dumpster than to put it out in your own trash can, is 10 cubic yards. So this is about 60 trash bags.

  •             10 yd³ = 60 trash bags
  •             15 yd³ = 75
  •             20 yd³ = 120
  •             30 yd³ = 180
  •             40 yd³ = 240

Pickup trucks

OK so maybe garbage bags aren’t how you think. Maybe you are a do-it-yourself kind of person who understands what it means to throw a shovel in the back of a pickup truck, or what it means to load the pickup truck with mulch or dirt.

And besides, it does get pretty challenging to think about size in terms of 60 garbage bags.

Let’s measure in pickup trucks.

  • 10 yd³ = 3 pickup truck loads
  •             15 yd³ = 4-5
  •             20 yd³ = 6
  •             30 yd³ = 9
  •             40 yd³ = 12

This is an especially helpful measure when you are imagining each of those pick up truck loads being driven to your local dump. If it’s right around the corner three trips is no big deal.

However, if you’re like most folks who are doing a big fix-it-up project around the house, the local dump is NOT right around the corner.

And the further away it is, the more time and effort it adds to your project to haul everything there yourself.

Now you’re loading, driving, unloading, driving back … multiple times. And this is time added to the work of demolition or removal.

Many people might even choose a 10 yd³ dumpster to avoid that pain and hassle of even one or two trips to the dump.

Also, you should round up, and get the next biggest size if you are unsure. No one is judging you for not wanting to make any more trips than you have to. Or making no trips at all.

We hope this guide helped you with your project.

A Quick Guide to What You Can’t Put in Your Dumpster

We get versions of this questions of this version all the time:

“What CAN’T I put in my rental dumpster?”

Of course, there is a list of items included in the rental contract, but you want to know the answer before you make the decision to rent a dumpster. So here’s a quick guide to what you can’t put in your dumpster.

First of all please note, this is a list of what you can’t put in YOUR dumpster.

There is a much shorter list to what you can’t put in someone else’s dumpster: everything. You should never put anything in someone else’s rental dumpster. If you do this, you are subjecting yourself and them to possible citations and fines.

The list of prohibited items falls into a couple of different categories.

Home interior:

The following home interior items should not be placed in your dumpster.

  • Mattresses
  • Couches
  • Upholstered chairs
  • Beds
  • Paint / paint cans
  • Televisions
  • Household cleaners
  • Light bulbs
  • Refrigerators
  • Large appliances

Each of these items likely have specific rules in your community for their disposal. In some cases this is because the items can be reused, usually decent furniture fits into that category, and televisions you’ve replaced not because they weren’t working but because you’ve upgraded. Keeping them in use and in circulation saves landfill space and saves another family money.

In other cases the items can’t be disposed of because they are themselves toxic or they contain toxic ingredients. Placing them in the landfill those poses problems to your environment including the drinking water for your community. Your community likely has rules and procedures for disposing of hazardous ingredients.

Garage or lawn and garden:

These garage, lawn, and garden items should not be placed in your dumpster.

  • Pesticides
  • Lawn chemicals
  • Weed killer / herbicides
  • Engine oil or lubricants
  • Propane tanks (even if you’re CERTAIN they are empty)
  • Tires

In each of these cases throwing out the indicated item is a risk to the environment and the people who handle or work at your trash processing facility. In some cases, including engine oil and lubricants, proper recycling means that they can be useful again. It might take an extra step, but reusing and reducing waste goes a long way towards helping the community.

Large item removal

Many municipalities offer the service of removing large items for you. Often you have to call ahead to schedule a pickup of the item on a specific day. This might not be your normal trash pick-up day, because the schedule is handled separately and sometimes is handled by an entirely different company or contractor.

Most communities require you to get it out to the curb which doesn’t require any more or less work than it would’ve taken to get it into a large dumpster. Some communities will even offer the help of someone coming into or up to your house to help with the removal process.

How Do I Dispose of Something with Freon in it?

Freon is the copyright name of a range of chlorofluorocarbons or chlorodifluoromethane used for a generation to cool refrigerators, freezers, homes, and automobiles.

 

The discovery that these chemicals depleted of protective layers around the earth led to their widespread phase-out, intended to become a full ban in 2020.

 

Many of us became aware of it only as our various mechanics and repair specialists told us we would have to replace our systems, or flush them and replace them with different coolants.

 

In some cases, replacing the refrigerant is not an option.

 

 

What do I do with my old appliance that uses Freon?

 

The good news is, if your appliance is still in good working order, there is no need to make an expensive repair or purchase. The phase-out allows for these systems to be replaced over time.

 

The bad news is, at some point your system will stop being cold. Your repair person will tell you that they cannot purchase or recharge the Freon because it simply is not available.

 

(And if they offer you black market Freon, you need to know that it is a violation of federal law to purchase or use it. Say no.)

 

You will have to transition to a new coolant, or to a new system.

 

 

Transitioning to a new coolant

 

In the best case scenario, your existing appliance will be able to be upgraded with a new coolant. The properly trained technician can safely drain the old coolant and they will handle the disposal. This disposal might show up as an additional charge on your bill, but consider it just part of the cost of the transition.

 

This repair should be done by someone who can demonstrate but they were trained according to EPA Section 608. This is the law that regulates the US compliance with the Kyoto and Montreal protocols that created these phase-outs.

 

Now you know that the material will be safely disposed of.

 

A new coolant will be injected and your system should be back to normal in no time.

 

 

Disposing of an old appliance

 

In some cases they won’t be able to change coolant and you will have to dispose of your appliance. The same laws that phased out Freon also mean that you can’t simply put that item at the curb or in your Bid Daddy Dumpster.

 

You still have options.

 

First, you could purchase a new appliance. In most cases, the same store that sold you the new appliance will for a reasonable fee dispose of the old one. In most cases this is the simplest and most economical choice.

 

Second, you could research your local regulations for dealing with Freon and drop your item off. This might mean loading the appliance into your pick-up truck and taking it to a specialized location (perhaps one that is near or attached to your local dump.) This site will have its own protocol for proper disposal of the Freon and it will likely have additional uses for the remaining parts.

How do I know if this is trash? – Under the Porch Edition

That smell, you realize, is coming from under the porch. Something has gone under there to die, and accomplished its mission, if your nose is to be trusted.

But why would it go under YOUR porch? It’s not like there are places to hide …

Oh, wait. Yes.

You’ve been throwing things under this porch for hmm … going on a decade now.

That’s a LOT of stuff. You can’t even see what is making the smell.

Time to clean. But how to decide if items you find should be kept, donated, sold at a garage sale, or thrown away?

Read this quick guide!

Old concrete

Are these concrete blocks that are complete, whole, and in usable shape? Keep

Wait, that’s a lot more blocks than I thought. Maybe someone else can use them for a specific project? A lot of middle-sized to large communities have one or more organizations to help with just this sort of thing. Donate

I thought these would be useful but they are really just chunks of concrete. Maybe I could use them as filler for … well, maybe I could make something up? Trash

Tools

“I own a wheelbarrow?” Have you been doing yardwork for years without it? Did you replace it? I thought so. Donate

Is it rusted through, either on the wheel brace or the container portion? It’s not able to do anyone any good. Trash

Hand tools

Still sturdy and, with a little love, it could go to work again? These tools that can get oiled up and put to good use for another generation. Maybe you’re not the one for this task. Donate

Covered in rust? Unmoveable? Showing physical signs of decay? Trash

Lumber

Oh, yes. You remember these parts from that fence project. Or was it the garage? Either way take a quick look at them. Are they warped? Are they damaged from the water? Trash

Are they stained? This might be okay if you need them as a replacement part for something that is painted. Are they in mint condition? Keep

That small stack over there? The odds and ends you are keeping just in case you come up with a project. Really? How long has it been? Are you coming into a whole bunch of free time sometime soon? No? Really, not even a pandemic is enough to turn the average person into a woodworker. Trash

Odds and ends

Old trash can lid. Is it aluminum? Recycle   Another other material? Trash

You have held on to these toddler toys for years, but in addition to Father Time, safety standards have also crept up on you. These won’t be safe or in good condition when you have grandkids. Trash

That old sled … might actually be useful. Is it in working condition, with no holes or warps? Keep

Nothing is more fun than a neighborhood garage sale and clean-out week. Go together and rent a dumpster, and drop a hint to your hoarder neighbor.

 

How do I know if this is trash? – Kitchen Edition

It’s an ambitious project, remodeling the kitchen. Who knew how much stuff you had? Maybe you inherited some of it … you sure don’t remember buying this much.

Is this from … our wedding? I’ve never seen it since then, I thought we lost it.

Picking through old kitchen equipment can be amusing, and it can trigger old and powerful memories. Sorting through memories, functionality, and practicality can be a difficult journey. But you can’t take it all with you.

Here’s a quick guide to deciding if what you have found is garbage, or great.

Dishes

Did you just dig up a third set of dishes? Well, not a ‘set’ exactly, but these certainly match each other in some sort of way, though there are pieces missing.

Ask yourself – is this part of an heirloom or family keepsake-quality set? If not: Trash

Are there specific useful pieces that are missing from your regular set? Say, for instance, corn holders, or a gravy boat. These are useful spares. Keep

Old Cabinets

About to tear out the cabinets and think you might have a place to use them? If you can readily identify where you will hang them, and when, and with whom: Keep

But these are in pretty good shape someone might want to buy them. If you have a buyer: Keep

You’re SURE a buyer is out there … somewhere: Trash

Old small appliances

I thought we threw out this old toaster. It still works! Great, no one will mind this little bit of rust, right? Yes, they will mind: Trash

No rust, still works? Donate / Garage Sale

“I wonder if this old hand mixer is worth something.” Don’t have all the original parts? Trash

But I’ve got this one recipe I used to make with this specific appliance, I wonder if I should dust it off, it’s only been ten years. Donate / Garage Sale

Old big appliances

Big appliances are a reliable item – generally there is someone somewhere who wants it. You could take advantage of the system in your community (if it exists) where they take away large appliances, but there will be better options almost every time.

Ask yourself why you are replacing it. Does it work, but not as well as you would like? Are you just getting a new color of kitchen and it does not fit in anymore? Donate

Perhaps it has a few surface scratches but was working fine? Donate

Now this old refrigerator just quit working and we had to get it replaced the next day to prevent the loss of all our groceries. A refrigerator has important and expensive components, some of which might be harmful in a dump. Donate

Tupperware

Do you have a complete set? Donate / Garage Sale

Incomplete set? Missing a lid or two? It’s just a ‘tiny’ stain? Trash

But … Trash.

No one wants your old Tupperware.

Spring cleaning can be fun. Go in with your neighbors and rent a 10-yard truck for the neighborhood today!

How do I know if this is trash? – Garage Edition

It’s spring cleaning time. Or perhaps you’re tasked with cleaning out a relative’s garage. Or maybe you have inherited some stuff you just don’t want.

But is it trash?

How do you know?

Here’s a handy guide to what is – and isn’t – trash in your garage.

Lawnmower:

That old gas guzzling, gray cloud spewing lawnmower. You thought maybe you got rid of it when you got the new one … was that six years ago? Seven?

Ask some key questions. Is it in almost-usable shape? If so, there are good reasons to donate it to a lawnmower repair place. A lot of lawnmowers are built with standard-size parts, and these can be used or upcycled to keep other lawnmowers in good repair. Donate

If it worked when you replaced it, someone might be able to get it working again, depending on the extent of the damage. Donate

Is it covered in rust, with visible damage from the elements and maybe rodents? (Rodents are attracted to the sweet taste of common engine oils.)  Trash

Hand tools:

Still sturdy and in workable shape? These are the types of tools that can get re-worked and put to good use for another generation. Donate

Covered in rust? Unmoveable? Showing physical signs of decay? Trash

Siding and building materials:

You forgot that you kept that bag of shingles after the roofing project, “just in case.” But there it is, under something that was under something in your garage. Or maybe it is a few yards of siding.

Do you still have that shingle / siding on your house? You might want to keep it, let’s see how we do on these questions: is it still the original color without staining? Keep

There really is no place to donate these. However, maybe you’re lucky and the siding is true aluminum siding? Recycle

Oh, it’s just discolored siding from an old project? Trash

Turf builder and lawn food:

Do you feel lucky, even though it is expired? Many lawn and garden chemicals change properties over time, but they tend to become a little bit weaker. Applying them to your lawn won’t do damage, as long as you follow the rules on the side of the bag. Keep

But your lawn is your greatest joy and you don’t want to take any chances? Many of these can go directly to the dump, but you don’t want to risk it.  Read the label, then, and dispose of as directed. Trash

Old sporting equipment:

Oh the memories in that old tennis racket. Remember that one game of croquet we played that summer when this set was new? Sadly, time and technology have moved on. If your racket is more than 7 years old, it’s not going to find a new home. That old basketball with a water stain, and that volleyball that you THINK MIGHT hold air? No one cares, and no one is about to start using it now that it has been found. Trash

Aww, my old baseball glove. So many good memories, mostly from being with friends before and after the game. Memories are hard to replace. Bring it inside, dust it off, oil it up, and wrap it in newspaper. Keep

How Do I Safely Dispose of My Old Computer?

Computers play such an important part in our daily lives that we begin to think of them as if they were any other regular household item.

When a spoon is broken we simply throw it out. When we find that a piece of furniture no longer meets our needs, we donate it. Or if that furniture is in such bad shape that donating is not a possibility, we throw it out, by contracting the right waste removal experts, of course. Same with old clothes and other daily use items: we are confident that we can dispose of them in the trash.

However, because of our daily interaction with them, we forget that computers are in fact incredibly complex. Every computer has a mix of rare and precious materials inside of it. Some of them are worth money by themselves and some of them are hazardous to our health and our environment if not disposed of properly.

For that reason, there are often many local, county, and state laws or guidelines for throwing away a computer.

What’s Inside?

Lead

Lead is the one common contaminant inside computers, because it has many beneficial traits. First, it is used to coat the inside of the computer and disc readers, protecting the user from radiation. Lead is also a common solder component, so that it exists in every joint between chips and the motherboard.

Lead’s threat to our health is widely known and understood. It can cause developmental delays in growing children. When exposed to high levels of lead, a person can become anemic, or develop kidney or brain damage.

Cadmium

Trace amounts of cadmium is found in the resistors, semi-conductors, cables, and wires in your computer.

Cadmium, when ingested, is not fully expelled from the body. As the amount of cadmium increase, so do chances for kidney failure and even cause liver and heart damage. Rarely, severe overexposure can cause death.

Mercury

LCD screens and certain lights are used less often in modern computers. These are the most common sources of mercury in our environment. If your computers or electronics possess a cracked LCD screen, you should treat it as a toxin. An uncracked screen should be respected, and thrown away according to mercury handling provisions in your area.

Mercury is a known neurotoxin. It is associated with the old phrase “mad as a hatter,” because haberdashers and hatters used to waterproof hats by rubbing mercury on them. These workers over time developed peculiar habits and traits. In short, they were believed to be “mad” or crazy. We know that they were affected by this deadly neurotoxin.

Because these known carcinogens and toxins are present in every computer, you should dispose of old computers differently than other household waste.

Follow guidelines for safe donation or disposal in your community.

These Items Don’t Belong in the Landfill

Construction and cleaning projects happen all year round. Whether you are changing a lightbulb, cleaning the garage, remodeling the basement, or doing a full demolition of the kitchen, these projects create trash.

 

Sometimes lots of trash.

 

And some of this trash does not belong in the landfill.

 

Whatever you’re doing around the house, it helps to know what you can and can’t put in the trash. Below are some broad categories of items that cannot go to the landfill. If you are throwing any of these items away you will need to check local rules and regulations for how best to dispose of them.

 

 

Hazardous liquids

 

Because of their ability to catch fire, pose some hazard to waste workers, or seep into our ground and damage drinking water reserves, certain hazardous liquids are banned from most landfills.

 

You should be careful when throwing out items from these categories:

 

  • Paints and stains
  • Varnish and thinners
  • Devices that contain mercury such as thermometers and certain light bulbs
  • Used or new oil or oil filters
  • Other automotive fluids

 

When disposing of these items, check the label carefully. Then check with local resources to see how best to dispose of them.

 

 

Electronics and batteries

 

The chemicals, compounds, and minerals used to create electronics and batteries are precious in part because of their reactivity. However, the thing that makes them useful is also the thing that makes them dangerous when they are mishandled or disposed of improperly.

 

Because of the amounts of chemicals involved, you can generally simply toss in the trash small batteries such as those used for toys and radios.

 

However, if your items are on this list, you will want to check local regulations:

 

  • Televisions
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Large batteries such as car, lawnmower, sump pump, or boat batteries
  • Computers and some computer accessories

 

Take care with these items. In some cases, a hidden reward of checking might be that someone is willing to dispose of or re-use the item. In the case of electronic computer components, companies in some places disassemble the computer in order to harvest ingredients that can be resold or reused.

 

Your donation could actually work to save a precious resource and fuel the economy.

 

 

Other dangerous waste

 

Items on this list don’t fit easily into a single category. They do, however, sometimes show up in home projects and need to be disposed of according to local regulations.

 

  • Any medical waste including syringes and lancets
  • Explosives including fireworks
  • Fuels including gasoline, or gasoline mixes commonly used in lawnmowers, off-road recreation vehicles, or scale models
  • Chemicals for treating pools or ponds
  • Propane cylinders

 

 

Be careful when cleaning to make sure that the items listed above get disposed of properly. Doing so helps keep people safe.

What Can You Throw Away in a Roll Off Dumpster?

Every household/or business is liable for regulating what they toss in the trash. Batteries, broken glass, and certain cleaners (flammables) need special disposal. These rules and regulations are in place to protect you and the environment. These regulations extend beyond the household. Renting a roll off container for your project won’t allow you to bypass the guidelines. Knowing what you can and can’t throw away is one of the most frequently asked questions we discuss with our purchasers here at Big Daddy Dumpsters. Here’s a list of common products and materials that can and can’t be thrown into a roll off container.

 

What You Can Throw Away in a Roll Off Container?

Luckily, if you are renting a roll off dumpster for a construction or demolition project, a good portion of the waste can be tossed in the container.

Junk

Are you clearing out a house? Most “junk” can make its way to the dumpster. Everything from toys to pots and pans can get tossed into the heap. Before piling on the electronics, you’ll need to call Big Daddy Dumpsters to confirm we can dispose of the items before you put it in the container.

Furniture

Sofas, tables, chairs, and beds are usually able to be thrown in. However not every landfill in Ohio allows mattresses and upholstered furniture. Your waste management company can give you more information and confirm what’s allowed.

Appliances

Appliances are usually disposable in most roll-off containers. Washers and dryers typically are ok. The issue with appliances is some of them contain hazardous liquids. Freon is an excellent example of a hazardous material. You have to have it removed before it can make it’s way to the landfill.  These are commonly found in refrigerators, deep freezers, and ac units

Electronics

Most TVs, printers, computers, and other goods are accepted in most roll-off containers. Sometimes though. Local pawn shops or electronic stores may buy used or old electronics. Be sure to check there first!

Yard Waste

It’s safe to say that almost all yard waste is safe for the roll-off dumpster. Some municipalities require the yard waste to be separated from other trash. You will need to confirm with Big Daddy Dumpsters whether or not you will need an extra container if you have a lot of yard waste and debris to remove.

Concrete and Asphalt

Roll-off containers are excellent for disposing concrete and asphalt. They can also carry brick and stone as well. These building materials are heavy.  Only our 10 yard dumpster is recommended for this. Also a good measuring method is to not fill it more than halfway with this type of debris.

Roofing Shingles

Replacing a shingled roof accumulates a lot of debris. Many project managers rely on roll off containers for assistance. Also with Big Daddy Dumpsters. We can stick that dumpsters right where you want it!

Other Construction Debris

Wood, siding, drywall and other construction materials are typically ok to throw away in a container. Keep in mind there are weight limits. Building materials quickly add up. Going over might cause us to drop off another dumpster to distribute the weight better.

What You Can’t Throw Away in a Roll Off Container

Hazardous materials can not under any circumstances be tossed in any dumpster or landfill. That rule is standard practice for almost every state. Where it gets tricky is deciding which products are considered “hazardous.” Here are a few things you can expect not to go in a roll off container.

Tires

Paint and lacquers (Sometimes latex paint is not. Empty paint cans can be recycled. )

Car batteries and dry-cell

Oil and fuel or other flammable materials like propane

Refrigerant

We hope this helped you understand what can and can’t be thrown away. Always remember we are one phone call away!