Dumpster Bags vs. Dumpster Rentals: What's the Better Deal?
Weigh the pros and cons to find the best debris removal option for your project.
Should You Buy a Dumpster Bag or Rent a Dumpster?
When you have too much junk for the curb or your weekly pickup won't accept certain items, it’s time to choose between two other popular waste removal options: a dumpster bag or a roll off container. We’ve rounded up the pros and cons of each to help you select the best junk removal option.
The Difference Between Dumpster Bags and Roll Off Dumpsters
Dumpsters and dumpster bags, such as the Bagster®, are both containers you can use to dispose of a variety of debris. Bags can be purchased from home improvement stores or online retailers, while dumpsters are rented from a waste hauling company.
Dumpster Bags vs. Dumpster Rentals
Waste Removal Bags
One size that holds 3 cubic yards of debris.
Often available in 10, 15, 20, 30 and 40 cubic yard sizes.
One bag holds up to 3,300 pounds of debris.
Dumpsters can generally hold 4,000-12,000 pounds.
8 feet long x 4 feet wide x 2.5 feet high.
Typically 7.5 feet wide, 16-22 feet long and 3.5-8 feet high.
Must be placed within 16 feet of the street.
Can be placed in a driveway, on your property or in the street.
Debris Bag and Dumpster FAQs
Go to a home improvement store and buy as many bags as you need for your project. Fill them up, then contact the manufacturer for collection.
Keep in mind that, while the waste removal bags are available almost anywhere, the company may not service your location. Check prior to purchasing to make sure you aren’t left with bags of waste in your driveway.
Home Depot and other home improvement stores will not pick up your dumpster bag. They are simply third-party vendors that sell the bags. In order to get your debris hauled away, you must contact the manufacturer to set up a collection date, which may not actually be available in your area.
For smaller projects and cleanups, it can be. The national average pickup cost for a dumpster bag is about $140. Combined with a purchase price of just under $30, that brings the average total to about $170 for 3 cubic yards of waste — roughly the size of one pickup truckload. However, prices vary by location, and local taxes and fees will still be added. More bags can be used at a discounted average rate of $150 per bag, but the price adds up quickly.
What to Consider When Choosing a Dumpster Rental or Dumpster Bag
It would be great if deciding on a dumpster or a dumpster bag were as simple as the amount of waste you’re tossing. However, that’s just one factor to consider when making your choice. Other aspects such as cost, available space, time and debris weight will help you decide which disposal option is best for your job.
1. Compare the Costs
Every project has a budget. As a result, price is one of the most important factors when deciding which waste removal option to go with. For example, both dumpster bags and dumpster rentals are often used for attic cleanouts, which tend to produce 5-10 cubic yards of debris.
- The national average rate to use a dumpster bag for an attic cleanout ranges from $240-$780.
- The national average rate to rent a 10 yard dumpster costs about $244-$531.
Each choice has a unique cost structure, so doing a bit of research ahead of time can go a long way to help you make a smart decision.
How Much Does a Dumpster Bag Cost?
Here’s how to calculate the total cost of a disposable debris bag:
Purchase Price + Pickup Cost + Local Fees and Taxes = Total Cost
According to Home Advisor, the average pickup cost for a dumpster bag that holds 3 cubic yards of debris ranges from $100 – $180. Combined with a purchase price of $30, that brings the average dumpster bag price range to $130 – $210.
If you purchase two or more bags for your project, there is an average pickup discount of $20 per bag, but only if they are all picked up at the same time and location. Plus, you still need to factor in the price of the dumpster bag itself, so the average price range for any additional bags is $110 – $190. Also note that these averages are subject to local fees and taxes, which will be applied when you schedule bag collection.
Dumpster bag prices are also heavily influenced by location. For example, the cost to pick up the first bag in Boston is $257, nearly $100 more than in Cleveland.
How Does Dumpsters.com Pricing Work?
We provide all-inclusive pricing so costs are bundled upfront, including 10-40 yards of volume:
Rental Price = Total Cost
The average cost to rent a dumpster with us is $485. Dumpster rental prices vary by each city's landfill disposal costs and local regulations. Other factors that affect the price of a roll off dumpster include your exact location, the type of debris you're tossing and the container's weight allowance.
For example, the average cost to rent a dumpster in San Jose in 2021 was $500 - $913, while locations such as Cincinnati and Richmond are slightly less expensive, sitting at $300 - $682 and $319 - $526, respectively. Remember that these rates cover more debris than a dumpster bag and guaranteed pickup service.
With our flat-rate pricing, you don't have to do any guesswork. Your quote will already have a covered weight limit, delivery and pickup expenses, local taxes and disposal fees factored in. The price you see is the price you get.
Estimated Cost Breakdown by Project Type
Amount of Debris
Dumpster Bag Average Cost*
Dumpster Rental Average Cost**
10 Yards or Less
$170 – $620 (1-4 bags)
$244 – $531 (10 yard dumpster)
$320 – $470 (2-3 bags)
$244 – $607 (10-15 yard dumpster)
$170 – $1,070 (1-7 bags)
$244 – $657 (10-20 yard dumpster)
$1,070 (7 bags)
$268 – $657 (20 yard dumpster)
$1,070 – $2,120 (7-14 bags)
$244 – $928 (20-40 yard dumpster)
$1,370 – $1,520 (9-10 bags)
$360 – $809 (30 yard dumpster)
2. Research How Each Service Works
Compare the different processes for getting a dumpster bag or dumpster rental on-site, filling it up and getting it hauled away.
Dumpster Rental Process
If you're wondering how to rent a dumpster, it’s as simple as a phone call. Here's how it works:
- Tell us about the details of your project so we can gauge the amount and type of debris you need to toss.
- We'll provide an expert size recommendation based on this information and go over important information like the length of the rental period and prohibited items.
- Give us detailed delivery instructions so we can place the bin right where you need it and let us know when you want it dropped off.
- Reach out when you're done filling up the dumpster and we’ll pick it up.
Check Dumpster Availability Near You
Getting a Dumpster Bag
With a dumpster bag, there are more factors to consider. Particularly, you need to do your research before you buy a disposable dumpster bag. While they are available for purchase at many major home improvement stores and can be delivered anywhere via online shopping, that doesn’t mean your local hauling company will collect them. Here's what to do:
- Find out which dumpster bag brands are available in your area.
- Make sure the manufacturers of the bags provide pickup service in your area.
- If you've verified that disposal services are available, determine how many waste removal bags you'll need.
- Go to a home improvement store to buy the dumpster bags.
- Set up the bags within 16 feet of the street.
- Fill them up and reach out to the company to find out when they can collect them.
In the end, a dumpster rental features a much more refined process with clear delivery and pickup dates, and more structure than a dumpster bag.
3. Consider the Placement
Dumpster bags must be placed within 16 feet of the curb for collection. As a result, your placement options are limited, unless you plan on moving the filled debris bag after your project — an almost impossible task if you’ve filled the bag to capacity. Also, keep in mind that the bag could tear if you try to drag it to the curb after filling it up.
Additionally, disposable dumpster bags cannot be placed on the street, so if you don't have a strip of grass between the sidewalk and street, you have no choice but to block your driveway until it is collected.
Dumpsters can be placed on the street in most areas, as long as you get a permit first. Additionally, they can be placed in driveways or wherever you may need it on your jobsite. Exact placement instructions will be collected during the rental process to ensure the bin is delivered right where you want it, even if you aren't on-site. However, once the dumpster is placed, it cannot be moved unless a driver returns to your property, which would result in a trip fee.
4. Check Your Available Space
At first, you might think a dumpster bag won’t take up much room, but you’ll need to account for the number of bags your project will require. With a dumpster, the walls are higher and can accommodate more debris in a smaller space.
Consider that a 10 yard dumpster has a length of 14 feet and width of 7.5 feet. Putting two dumpster bags lengthwise would take up 16 feet and lining them up next to each other would make them 8 feet wide, so more than one dumpster bag on-site will exceed the dimensions of a 10 yard container.
5. Take Your Timeline Into Account
How much time do you have to complete the project? If you’re cleaning out the garage over the span of a few weeks, it’s important to note that dumpsters typically come with a 7-10 day rental period. Exceeding this timeframe will result in a low daily rate for each additional day, which you don't need to worry about with a bag or other waste removal alternative.
However, if you know you can complete the project within the dumpster rental period, you can save a lot of travel time. With a dumpster bag, you have to go to the store to purchase it and walk up and down the driveway every time you need to toss debris. Using a waste removal bag can quickly chew up hours of productivity time that could be used elsewhere.
It's also important to note that waste disposal companies that sell dumpster bags don't necessarily prioritize their debris bag pickups. This means the bag can be sitting outside your house for an unspecified amount of time. So, if you're decluttering your home before selling and expecting potential buyers to stop by, the first thing they see when they arrive may be your filled dumpster bag.
6. Think About What You're Tossing
Debris bags can hold a surprising amount of weight without ripping or tearing. However, since the walls of a dumpster bag are only two-and-a-half feet tall and they can’t be picked up if debris obstructs the handles, they’re not ideal for getting rid of bulky items like furniture. Also, electronics, appliances, and sometimes yard waste, are not accepted in dumpster bags. Additionally, if you’re tossing heavy debris like concrete, brick or dirt, the bag can only be filled with one cubic yard of materials — that means you're wasting two-thirds of the bag's capacity.
Dumpster rentals can often handle a mix of waste types, and the higher walls make renting a dumpster ideal for bulky items. Simply swing open the dumpster door to safely load heavy items. Plus, by nature, dumpsters are much sturdier, so you don’t have to worry about a sharp piece of debris ripping the side and making a mess.
"In our experience, customers often end up with more debris than they originally planned. In situations like this, a dumpster is a better option because you have more space for any extra materials."
Which Disposal Option Is Right for Your Project?
Which option is best for you? It all depends on what type of project you’re planning. If you’re working on something smaller like decluttering a room or a project that has you wondering if you should just use your normal curbside trash collection, a waste removal bag is a good option. For anything larger or involving materials not accepted at the curb, a dumpster may be the right way to go. Still not sure which option is best for you? Here are a few general rules of thumb.
Buy a Dumpster Bag When...
✔ Decluttering a specific area of the home.
✔ Excavating a small load of dirt or sod.
✔ Removing a small amount of drywall.
✔ Clearing out a shed.
✔ Getting rid of carpeting or flooring from a small room.
Rent a Dumpster When...
✔ Handling an estate cleanout.
✔ Cutting down trees, brush or overhauling landscaping.
✔ Remodeling a room or rooms.
✔ Performing demolition work.
✔ Getting rid of bulky items.
Looking for more waste removal tips? Check out our online resource center for helpful advice including our guide to renting a dumpster.
What Do You Think?
Have you chosen a dumpster for your project? Tell us about it. Head over to Twitter or Facebook, and use #dumpstersblog to join the conversation.