If you are renting a dumpster or getting junk removal, sometimes you may need to know how much your junk weighs. This is especially true if you are trying to figure out if you will get charged more for any "overages" or tonnage over the included weight in your dumpster rental, or if you are trying not to overload your trailer or uhaul past its weight capacity.
I wrote this article to help answer some basic questions and estimate what common trash types weigh. Keep in mind that a cubic yard is 3ft long x 3ft wide x 3ft tall, a little larger than a washing machine.
Household Trash: 150-250 pounds per a cubic yard
Typical household trash includes food, bagged trash, household items, furniture like couches, desks, and shelving, clothing, appliances, and most other items you find laying around the house. Most appliances like washers and dryers are about 150 pounds and about a cubic yard in size, except for refrigerators which are typically closer to 270 pounds and 2 cubic yards for the larger heavier duty models. The density and weight ultimately depends on how tightly you pack your items in the dumpster. A typical 15 yard trailer dumpster full of household trash will be about 2,300 pounds.
Loose Scrap Wood and Lumber: 250-330 pounds per a cubic yard
Lets say you have a little remodeling project going on and you have some wood cabinets, plywood panels, rotten lumber, trim boards, a room of wood flooring, and some rotten deck boards to tear up and throw out. Typically each cubic yard of this waste would weigh on average 300 pounds per a cubic yard. If you pack it tight it will be on the heavier end, but if you throw it away and don’t organize it and crush it down in the dumpster it will be lighter. A 15 yard trailer full of old deck boards for instance can be about 4800 pounds.
Old fencing (depending on the type of wood) is typically a little lighter, especially if it is not packed in tight and may be closer to 160 pounds per a cubic yard. If you throw away the concrete posts however the weight increases significantly.
Loose Sheet Rock: 500 pounds per a cubic yard
Sheet rock is one of the more common materials that gets thrown away during remodeling projects. If our customers filled one of our 15 yard dumpsters entirely full of sheet rock and packed it tight, it might weigh as much as 7500 pounds. Frequently however, it is not packed in that tight and there is lots of other waste mixed in with it that is much less dense.
Mixed Remodeling Waste: 300 pounds per a cubic yard
Most remodeling projects typically involve a mixture of different types of debris including boards, cabinets, sheet rock, boxes and packaging, toilets, sinks, fans, counter tops, doors, carpet, a little tile, etc. When combined and loosely packed down (not crushed in with an excavator) the density typically ends up being close to 300 pounds per a cubic yard. Compaction with an excavator can double the density of many types or remodeling waste.
Yard Trimmings and Branches: 100-150 pounds per a cubic yard
We get a lot of calls to haul off branches and yard waste that people have trimmed down over the weekend. This waste is typically not very dense, and if you take time to stomp it down and cut it up you can often condense trimming waste to about a 3rd of its original size.
Larger Branches and Tree Logs: 300-600 pounds and up per a cubic yard
If you cut down an entire tree and have lots of thick trunk and branch pieces to dispose of, we may not be the appropriate dumpster service for you, as our 15 yard trailers have a weight limit of 5,000 pounds. Hardwood trees like Oak and Maple are typically denser and heavier than softwood trees like Pine trees, and density is also partially determined by moisture content. So, a freshly cut tree will tend to be 20% or more heavier than tree debris that is already dried out and rotten.
Carpet and Padding: 85 pounds per a cubic yard
Carpet and padding are typically not very dense materials. They are light and fluffy, relatively speaking.
Flattened Boxes: 50 pounds per a cubic yard
Like carpet and padding, loose flattened boxes don’t really pose much of a weight concern as they are very light.
Books, Magazines, Paper and Magazine Stock: 500 pounds per a cubic yard
When books and paper products are stacked neatly they can actually be quite dense. Luckily most people don’t really have that many books and large amounts of paper and magazines so the weight doesn’t really become a concern. Some exceptions to the rule have been lawyers, who happen to accrue quite a bit as a part of the requirements of their profession.
Loosely Packed Roofing Shingles: 750 pounds per a cubic yard
Asphalt shingles are relatively dense material. People typically refer to roofing area as "per a square" with 100 square feet equaling 1 "square". Each square weighs about 200-350 pounds depending on the quality and thickness of the shingle model, at an average of about 300 pounds per a square. So, roofing on average weighs about 3 pounds per a square foot. On average, you can fit about 2.5 squares, or 250 square feet of shingles in a cubic yard, depending on the type of roofing, which averages out to be about 300 pounds per a square x 2.5 squares = 750 pounds per a cubic yard. Our dumpster are not appropriate for removing an entire home’s roof, but for smaller repair jobs we might be able to assist you.
Tile: Ceramic, Porcelain, Stone: 1,200-2,400 pounds per a cubic yard
Large amounts of tile and some other flooring types can be a concern for us due to the weight restrictions of our dumpsters, and the extra dump fees we incur at the landfill. There are a few different types of tile and methods of attachment and thus, varying densities. If you have more than about 300 square feet of tile, we might prefer to refer you to another company. Keep in mind that even the thinnest common types of tile (1/4 inch ceramic) can be 3 pounds per a square foot, and it only gets heavier, for instance 3/4 inch ceramic can be 9 pounds per a square foot. This doesn’t include mortar (with varying thickness), which can be around 7 pounds per square foot, with thinset being considerably lighter. Tile from a bathroom remodel should not be an issue for us, but if you are redoing 1,300 square feet of floor tile we are not the appropriate choice.
Concrete, Cement, Asphalt, Brick, Stone, Granite, Masonry: 2,400-4,000 pounds per a cubic yard
Concrete and other masonry and landscaping products are typically very dense and even small amounts can overload the wrong equipment. Loosely packed broken concrete can be be about 2,400 pounds per a cubic yard, while tightly packed or solid chunks are closer to 4,000 pounds per a cubic yard. Most masonry products are about 2,000 pounds per a cubic yard if loosely packed, and density increases as particulate organization increases. We do not haul concrete and masonry products as a general rule, but would be happy to refer you to another company.