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How Do You Measure a Cubic Yard for a Dumpster?

Kurt Anderson • 04/15/2022

A roll-off dumpster rental makes cleanup for any number of projects simpler and safer. However, it’s important to choose the right size from the options available. A dumpster that’s too small may mean a second rental and more costs, and a dumpster that’s too large means you’re paying for space you don’t need.

Since rental dumpsters typically are described in terms of their capacity in cubic yards, it’s helpful to understand a few things when considering the different dumpster rental sizes. Those things include what a cubic yard really is, how to calculate space, and what jobs different sizes are best suited for.

What a Cubic Yard Is

A cubic yard is a three-dimensional space that measures 1 yard in height, width, and length. Converting that to feet, which people use more commonly, that’s 3’ x 3’ x 3’, or 27 cubic feet.

Calculating a Dumpster’s Capacity

The equation for determining a dumpster’s capacity starts with the basic volume formula of length x width x height. Since those measures are likely to be in feet and the dumpster’s capacity is going to be in cubic yards, you then have to take that total and divide it by 27 (see above for why in case you forgot).

There’s one other thing to know, though: when measuring a dumpster’s dimensions, it’s typical to go from one outside edge to another. This means that the actual capacity will be slightly smaller than that number you came up with.

If you want the measurement to be a little more accurate, then just deduct 6 to 8 inches from each measure.

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Capacity by Comparison

So now that you understand the fairly simple math behind figuring out dumpster capacity, you still may have no idea how much space that is in a real application. To help make that clearer, let’s use some relatable comparisons. This can also be helpful in determining the dumpster size needed for the job.

At Bin There Dump That, we provide dumpster rental sizes of 10, 15, and 20 cubic yards, so we’ll make the comparisons related to those sizes.

Let’s start with the bed of a pickup truck. On average, a full-size pickup’s bed has a capacity of 3 cubic yards, so our dumpsters hold the equivalent of about 3, 5, and 7 pickup loads, respectively.

Or take a garbage bag, another relatable comparison. Our 10-yard dumpsters hold the volume of approximately 45 13-gallon garbage bags (a very common size for kitchen garbage bags). The 15-yard dumpsters hold the equivalent of 70 bags, and for the 20-yard dumpsters, it’s about 90.

One more: your oven. Most standard kitchen ovens are about 1 cubic yard in capacity. So if you imagine filling your oven with trash, it’s pretty easy to envision how many oven loads you can get into our different dumpster sizes.

Which Jobs Are the Dumpsters Best For?

Every project is unique, but the following are some general guidelines for what jobs our dumpster sizes are best suited for.

10-yard Dumpsters:

Roof and flooring repairs and replacements
Cleanouts of basements, garages, and small homes
Small landscaping and construction projects
Removal of household debris

15-yard Dumpsters:

Cleanouts and decluttering of larger homes and estates
Renovations of bathrooms and kitchens
Medium construction and landscaping projects

20-yard Dumpsters:

Renovations of multiple rooms
Large construction and landscaping projects
Removal of large furniture
Cleanups and restorations following fires, floods, and other natural disasters

For an affordable dumpster rental in Atlanta that has no hidden fees, 100% driveway protection, and double doors for easy access, contact Bin There Dump That for a quote!

About The Author Kurt Anderson

We have provided clean and green dumpsters to the Metro Atlanta area since 2012 we take great pride in our family first approach. We have lived, grown, and raised our children here in Atlanta, and love being able to work in such a great community. Same-day dumpster delivery and 100% driveway protection are just a couple of the traits that separate this family-owned business from other dumpster providers in Atlanta!



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