Is a 40 yard dumpster the right size for my project?

uses for a 40 yard dumpster size

40 yard dumpsters have the capacity to hold up to 40 cubic yards of waste or debris. That’s roughly equal to between 12 and 20 pickup truck loads of debris, depending upon the type of material. It’s typically the largest container offered by dumpster rental companies, so it’s the ideal choice for the biggest cleanups, demolition projects, roofing, and new construction jobs.

A 40 yard dumpster can hold up to the equivalent of 20 pickup truckloads worth of waste, junk and debris.

40 yard dumpster dimensions

Typical dimensions of a 40 yard roll-off container are 22 ft. long x 8 ft. wide x 8 ft. high. Dumpsters vary in size depending upon who you rent with, so be sure to ask your rental provider for exact dimensions if space is limited at the drop-off location.

Keep reading to learn about whether a 40 yard container is the most economical choice for your project.

Click here to find the best dumpster rental price in your hometown

First thing’s first…

  1. Don’t go over the weight limit: You’ll incur overage charges for going over the rental company’s weight allowance. For a 40 yard dumpster, this typically ranges from 4 to 8 tons (8,000-16,000 lbs).
  2. 7 day rental period is typical: A $5 to $10 per day late fee is common for keeping the dumpster longer. Please note that rental durations vary by company, so always ask.
  3. Type of waste/debris: Some rental companies only accept construction and demolition (C&D) debris in their 40 yard dumpsters, not general household wastes. Other guidelines may also apply, so always ask the dumpster provider about restrictions on certain types of debris.
  4. Items not allowed in the dumpster: This includes, but is not limited to, hazardous wastes, tires, automotive fluids, and batteries. The rules at local landfills and laws governing waste disposal play a role in what’s allowed in dumpsters and what isn’t. Learn more.
  5. Recycling is becoming mainstream: An increasing number of dumpster rental companies are recycling the wastes they haul. It’s a greener alternative to landfilling and is oftentimes cheaper than paying the tipping fees at landfills. Some dumpster rental providers will pass these savings on to you, especially if you help them out by keeping recyclables separated from non-recyclable wastes. This is called a “clean load."

Types of 40 yard dumpsters

Open-top roll-off containers

Examples of 40 yard roll off containers

This is the type of 40 yard dumpster you see at construction and demolition sites. These bins feature a door at one end that hinges open for easier loading. This makes it particularly convenient for loading bulky or heavy items, like furniture, home appliances, and demolition debris.

Features / Benefits:

  • Rear door allows for easy loading
  • Some older containers may not have a door—be sure to ask
  • Ideal for large home cleanouts, roofing, construction, and demolition
  • Allow at least 8 ft clearance between the rear door and other objects for easy opening/closing
  • Plywood or boards are placed between the container and your driveway for added protection against damage. Always request this!

Typical dimensions: 22 ft L x 8 ft W x 8 ft H

Commercial compactors

Commercial compactors

Unlike open-top dumpsters, commercial compactors are enclosed to allow for compaction. This type of 40 yard dumpster is utilized at commercial facilities and businesses that go through a lot of cardboard, paper, and general trash. You wouldn’t rent a commercial compactor to use at a construction site, demolition project, or home cleanout.

Features / Benefits:

  • Designed for use at commercial buildings and large businesses
  • Capable of holding far more weight compared to open-top dumpsters
  • Requires electrical hookup, except on newer solar compactors

Typical dimensions: Varies (bigger than open-top 40 yard dumpsters)

When a 40 yard roll-off container is ideal

Projects where a 40 yard dumpster is the right size container

If the job is big, a 40 yard roll-off is the container for you. Here are some situations where a 40 yarder is the way to go:

  • Foreclosure or estate cleanout
  • Large deck removal (750+ sq ft)
  • 40+ square of roofing shingles – multiple layers
  • Whole-home interior renovation
  • Offloading junk and household items when moving out/in
  • House demolition
  • New construction of a house
  • Commercial cleanouts, construction, and demolition
  • Commercial and residential roofing replacements

Projects requireing a 40 yard dumpster

Every project is different, so a smaller container may be a more economical solution. Your dumpster rental provider can help you choose the right container and container size for your project.

Our dumpster size guide explains everything you need to know about the four most common container sizes.

READ MORE: Large Dumpster Rental: When is a 30 or 40 Yard Dumpster the Best Choice?

40 yard dumpster rental cost

The nationwide average cost of renting a 40 yard roll-off container is about $500.

Other charges for overages, tonnage, fuel surcharges, late fees, and type of debris may also apply. After expenses, a 40 yard dumpster can cost as much as $850, but most will run $400 to $500.

Always ask about potential additional fees when renting a dumpster so it’s not a surprise when you get the final bill. This includes overage charges, late fees, etc.

REMEMBER: Dumpster prices are different everywhere you go and depend on a variety of factors. To learn more, read our ultimate dumpster pricing guide and tips on how to lower the price of rental.

40 yard construction dumpsters are big enough for most cleanups but are not always the most economical choice. Always factor in the estimated weight of the debris you plan to load into the dumpster. It can get expensive if you go over the weight limit.

Overage fees vary by rental provider but can range from $40 to $100 per ton

Sometimes downsizing to a smaller dumpster makes more sense. This is true in cases where the volume and/or weight of the debris you plan to offload falls closer to the capacity of a smaller container. You can save $100+ in some cases.

Helpful links:

Find a 40 Yard Dumpster Rental Near You

It’s a bit tricky to pick the right dumpster size, but here a few useful tips:

  1. Dumpster rental companies are remarkably good at estimating weight and volume of different types of debris. Be detailed when explaining the project over the phone to ensure an accurate weight estimate.
  2. If you’re on the fence, go with the bigger size (40 yard container). More often than not, you’ll save money by avoiding overage fees.
  3. Keep the dumpster covered with a tarp when not in use. This will help deter passersby from tossing trash into it, and will help keep rain from soaking the debris. Both situations will increase the total weight of the load. This is very important to keep in mind if you’re nearing the maximum capacity of the container.

Dumpster with tarp on it

Final tips to save you time and money when renting a 40 yard roll-off dumpster:

  • Prepare to have enough room in your driveway or wherever you plan to set the dumpster. A 40 yard dumpster needs at least 22 ft L x 8 ft W plus room to open the rear-entry door.
  • A dumpster rental permit is necessary to place a dumpster in the public right-of-way (e.g., sidewalk or city street). Discuss this with your dumpster rental company.
  • For heavy debris, like dirt or concrete, a 10 yard dumpster may be the best option. Some companies will waive overages for this type of debris and allow you to fill the container to a specified level instead. Plus, smaller containers are easier to side-load compared to a 40 yarder with 8 ft. high sidewalls.
  • Read the customer reviews here at These reviews are verified by Hometown, so each one provides you with a true and honest account of a customer’s experience with a particular dumpster rental provider. It’s a valuable (and free!) resource for you.

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