Updated October 7, 2022
When it comes to estimating how much debris your project is going to generate and which dumpster size you need, you may be a little intimidated.
Each dumpster provider has different weight limits for their dumpsters, and the specific type of debris you have plays a huge role in how much you'll be able to fit in each size.
This guide to weight limits will outline the average weight limits for the most common dumpster sizes and how much debris will fit.
- Why Dumpsters Have Weight Limits
- How the Weight of a Dumpster Load Is Measured
- Weight Limits by Dumpster Size
- Get Multiple Quotes to Compare Limits and Pricing
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Why Dumpsters Have Weight Limits
Dumpsters are extremely heavy duty, sturdy containers, but the trucks that pick them up and carry them away have limitations.
Dumpster trucks can only safely lift and maneuver so much weight, which is why companies limit the amount of weight that can go inside a dumpster.
Some companies won't pick up concrete or extremely heavy debris because of the risks involved, while others accept heavy debris but with very specific instructions, like only filling the dumpster halfway.
If you exceed the halfway mark or don't abide by their instructions, you'll have to remove the debris before it can be hauled away, and you may be charged double.
In addition to safety purposes, weight limits are also in place for monetary reasons.
It's rare for a dumpster to have a flat fee because, at a landfill or recycling facility, the materials dropped off are almost always priced by weight.
For example, a 10 yard dumpster full of some old furniture and bags of trash will weigh significantly less than a 10 yard dumpster full of concrete or dirt.
So, even if the dumpsters are the same size and are rented from the same company, the dumpster full of concrete or dirt will cost more than the dumpster full of furniture and trash.
Because the company pays by weight when they drop off your debris/junk, they often include a certain tonnage in each dumpster's price.
If you go over that weight, you will be charged an overage fee.
Dumpster companies limit the amount of weight included in the price of your dumpster rental, and dumpster trucks are limited to the amount of weight they can physically tow.
How the Weight of a Dumpster Load Is Measured
When your dumpster is ready to be picked up, the dumpster company grabs the dumpster from your home or work site and drives it to the nearest landfill or recycling facility.
When they arrive, the truck drives the dumpster onto a scale at the front of the landfill. The total weight of the dumpster, truck, and debris is measured.
Once weighed, the truck then empties the dumpster.
As the truck leaves the landfill, it drives over another scale and gets weighed again without the debris.
From there, the difference in weights is calculated to determine the weight of the debris, and that's what you get billed for.
If the weight of your debris exceeds your included weight limit, you'll be charged an overage fee, likely pro-rated b ton.
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Weight Limits by Dumpster Size
Each dumpster size comes with a different weight limit, and weight limits also vary from one contractor to the next.
The table below details how much common debris and materials weigh,
To get a more accurate estimation of how much your debris will weigh and how much will fit in various dumpster sizes, refer to the various charts below.
|Material||Weight per Cubic yard||Notes|
|Burned Debris/Ash||800-1,000 lbs
Wet for dust suppression
Wet mixed with soil
|Wood, Un-Compacted||400 lbs||Increase up to 100% if compacted|
|Metals, Un-Compacted||600 lbs||Ex. Appliances, metal siding|
|Gravel or Crushed Stone||2,600 lbs||Increase 20% if wet|
|Standard Red Clay Bricks||3,400 lbs|
|1,000 sq ft (10 square, 30 bundles)|
|General Household Junk||300-350 lbs
|Yard Waste||670 lbs
|1/2-inch thick drywall
5/8-inch thick drywall
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10 Yard Dumpster
The average weight limit for 10 cubic yard dumpsters is typically 2-3 tons, or 4,000-6,000 lbs.
If you're curious how much debris will fit inside a 10 yard container and within the 2-to-3-ton average weight limit, the table below will give you an idea.
|Type of Debris||Average Amount That Will Fit in 10 Yard|
|Carpeting||2,500-3,500 sq ft|
|Concrete/Asphalt||65-90 sq ft of 10-in. thick concrete/asphalt|
|Drywall||1,600-2,250 sq ft of 1/2-in. to 5/8-in. thick drywall|
|Household Junk||270-405 sq ft of junk, like clothes, furniture, trash, etc.|
|1,600-2,400 sq ft (16-24 square or 48-72 bundles)|
|Yard Waste||5-10 cubic yards|
20 Yard Dumpster
The average weight limit for 20 cubic yard dumpsters is typically 3-5 tons, or 6,000-10,000 lbs.
If you're curious how much debris will fit inside a 20 yard container and within the 3-to-5-ton average weight limit, the table below will give you an idea.
|Type of Debris||Average Amount That Will Fit in 20 Yard|
|Carpeting||3,000-4,200 sq ft|
|Concrete/Asphalt||80-110 sq ft of 10-in. thick concrete/asphalt|
|Drywall||1,950-2,650 sq ft of 1/2-in. to 5/8-in. thick drywall|
|Household Junk||335-475 sq ft of junk, like clothes, furniture, trash, etc.|
|Roofing||2,000-2,800 sq ft (20-28 square or 68-84 bundles)|
|Yard Waste||6-12 cubic yards|
30 Yard Dumpster
The average weight limit for 30 cubic yard dumpsters is typically 4-6 tons, or 8,000-12,000 lbs.
If you're curious how much debris will fit inside a 30 yard container and within the 4-to-6-ton average weight limit, the table below will give you an idea.
|Type of Debris||Average Amount That Will Fit in 30 Yard|
|Carpeting||4,200-6,000 sq ft|
|Concrete/Asphalt||110-155 sq ft of 10-in. thick concrete/asphalt|
|Drywall||2,650-3,840 sq ft of 1/2-in. to 5/8-in. thick drywall|
|Household Junk||475-680 sq ft of junk, like clothes, furniture, trash, etc.|
|Roofing||2,800-4,000 sq ft (28-40 square or 84-120 bundles)|
|Yard Waste||8-15 cubic yards|
40 Yard Dumpster
The average weight limit for 40 cubic yard dumpsters is typically 6-8 tons, or 12,000-16,000 lbs.
If you're curious how much debris will fit inside a 10 yard container and within the 6-to-8-ton average weight limit, the table below will give you an idea.
|Type of Debris||Average Amount That Will Fit in 40 Yard|
|Carpeting||7,200-9,600 sq ft|
|Concrete/Asphalt||190-250 sq ft of 10-in. thick concrete/asphalt|
|Drywall||4,600-6,000 sq ft of 1/2-in. to 5/8-in. thick drywall|
|Household Junk||810-1,085 sq ft of junk, like clothes, furniture, trash, etc.|
|Roofing||4,800-6,400 sq ft (48-64 square or 144-192 bundles)|
|Yard Waste||15-20 cubic yards|
Get Multiple Quotes to Compare Limits and Pricing
Because weight limits can vary, we recommend reaching out to multiple dumpster rental providers in your area to compare the amount of weight they include in their rental prices.
This will help to ensure you get the right dumpster size for the best price.
Be aware that some companies don't include any weight in their quotes, and instead, you pay a pro-rated amount based on the exact weight of debris you have. This is most common on the east coast or in large cities, like New York City, where landfill fees are inflated and weight plays such a drastic role in cost.
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