Proper disposal: get the most out of your dumpster rental

By Chris Picciano

No big landscaping job can be done without a big enough dumpster to dispose of that material, so landscaping companies are frequently working with disposal companies.

Dumpster rentals are generally pretty straightforward. You tell them what size dumpster you need, and the disposal company drops it off on-site, then takes it to the landfill when the job is done. However, although renting a dumpster is simple, many landscapers end up overpaying due to mismanaging how they dispose of materials and not knowing how to protect themselves from shady dumpster rental companies.

Landscapers trying to finish a big job may not be thinking about how they are disposing of materials, but it is beneficial to do so since it will help your landscaping company avoid fines that can add up if you are consistently renting dumpsters throughout the year. Here are a few tips to help maximize your dumpster rentals during landscaping jobs.

dumpster rental Area Disposal

Know what size dumpster you need

Most landscaping companies learn how big a dumpster they need the hard way by renting the smallest and least-expensive one possible and hoping they can fit everything inside. It is better to know how big a dumpster you need beforehand, because it is going to cost you more money to make a mistake and have to order another one for your job site.

Many dumpster rentals offer 15-yard and 40-yard dumpsters. A 15-yard dumpster can hold up to five tons of trash, and is typically good for small to medium landscape design jobs. A 40-yard dumpster can hold up to 10 tons of trash and is the best option if you are working on or redesigning a large property. It is also the best option if you are disposing of a lot of heavy materials such as rocks, dirt and larger trees.

Things that do not burn – such as concrete blocks, bricks and concrete asphalt – should be separated into a different dumpster. If you let the rental company know ahead of time and keep the in-earth materials separate, you will most likely just be charged to load the materials instead of being charged by weight.

Many states have in-earth landfills that charge by load and not by weight. It is better to overload the amount of waste you plan on dumping instead of undercounting. The cost of getting a bigger dumpster is always going to be less than the fines and fees you get from overloading. If you aren’t sure what size you need, have a conversation with a few dumpster rental companies and see what they recommend. You can go with the most common option between the companies you are price shopping with. An honest dumpster rental company will be happy to have an in-depth conversation on which dumpster is best for your landscaping project.

Know your weight limitations and stick to them

The most common reason landscapers overpay for dumpster rentals is that they don’t follow the weight limitations of the dumpster they rent. Landscaping crews consistently overfill the dumpsters they rent, which leads to being billed for the extra time and effort it takes to properly dispose of excess materials.

Tracking and managing weight limits is the best way to save money on a dumpster rental. Managing the weight of your dumpster is dependent on how you put waste in and estimating how much waste a certain job will produce. For example, instead of just throwing waste haphazardly into the dumpster, take your time to put it in with purpose. If you are cutting down trees, cut the trees into smaller pieces with a saw or wood chipper before putting them in the dumpster. This will keep the dumpster from overfilling too quickly. If you are disposing of trees and plants, a great trick to manage their weight is to let them dry out before putting them in the dumpster. A dry and dead tree weighs less than a living tree. Letting it dry out and shrink will give you more space to dump waste while using less weight.


You can also estimate the amount of waste certain jobs will create. For example, if you are removing grass or pavers, you can remove one paver or one square foot of grass and weigh it. You can then multiply that weight by the total square footage of the yard to estimate the total weight of the waste you are removing. This is also important when putting together a bid for your project since you need to know how much dumping costs are going to be before starting a job. This is a great way to ensure you won’t get a fee for putting too much waste in your dumpster. It is very easy to go over 10 tons of waste on a large job, so take the time to project the total waste a job will create.

Always ask for official documents

In a perfect world, everyone would do business honestly; but sadly, there are dumpster rental companies who charge fake overage fees to make extra money off landscapers who may not know better. Before you rent a dumpster, have the company guarantee they will give you the certified landfill ticket for your job to ensure they aren’t intentionally or unintentionally charging you an overage fee. Every dumpster is disposed of in a landfill and every truck is officially weighed on a scale. If your dumpster is overweight and the rental company was charged an overage fee, then it will show up on the certified landfill ticket. Any dumpster rental company that is not willing to give you this landfill ticket should not be hired by your landscaping company.

Dumpster rentals are an essential service for any landscaping company that does anything more than simple lawn maintenance on small properties. Renting a dumpster is a simple process, but it will cost you extra money if you don’t properly estimate and dispose of waste on a job site. Knowing how big your job is will allow you to rent the proper-sized dumpster and avoid going over the weight limitations that lead to costly overage fees.

Chris Picciano is the owner of Area Disposal Inc., a dumpster rental service in Phoenix, Arizona that specializes in helping contractors dispose of jobsite waste.

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