If you frequent your local Home Depot or Lowe’s, then you’ve probably seen a few display stands for disposable dumpster bags. You know, those bags that are advertised as being more convenient and more affordable than a dumpster for home cleanups.

Does the dumpster bag really beat the dumpster for home waste removal? The answer depends on both the scope of your project and your budget. Check out the comparisons below to decide which option is right for you.

What Is the Difference Between a Dumpster Bag and a Dumpster?

Dumpsters and waste disposable bags are both containers you can place on your property, fill up with junk and debris, and then have hauled away. However, they differ in some key features:

Dumpster Bags Dumpsters
Sizes: One bag size available that holds 3 cubic yards of debris with a 3,300 pound weight limit. Come in 10, 20, 30 and 40 cubic yard sizes, each with its own weight limit.
Dimensions: 8 feet long by 4 feet wide by 2.5 feet high. Vary by size. Typically 8 feet wide, 10-20 feet long and 3.5-7 feet high.
Placement: Must be placed within about 18 feet of the street. Can be placed almost anywhere in your driveway or on your property.
Pickup: Pickup not offered in all locations where bags are sold. Contact the rental company for pickup on or before the last day of your rental period.

When considering a disposable dumpster bag, always double-check with the company offering the service that pickups are available in your area. Also be aware that if you place your bag inside your home, or elsewhere outside the 18-foot reach of the truck’s hydraulic arm, pickup will not be possible.

When considering a dumpster, estimate the weight of your debris so that you can choose the dumpster size that best matches your needs.

How Pricing Works for Dumpsters vs. Dumpster Bags

The main draw of dumpster bags are the low prices—as low as $29.99 for some brands. But before you make your purchase, it’s important to know that this price covers only the bag itself. An additional fee is charged for pickup.

The collection cost for one dumpster bag loaded with 3 cubic yards worth of debris and a 3,300-pound weight limit averages $129, on top of the $29.99 for the bag itself. This brings the total to about $160 per bag. (This number may be higher or slightly lower depending on your location and the company offering the service.)

Use this chart to compare cost estimates for each option in various situations.

Scenario Avg. Amount of Debris Avg. Dumpster Bag Cost Avg. Dumpster Cost
Minor Home Cleanout 3 cubic yards $160 (1 bag) $377 (One 10 yard dumpster)
Minor Remodeling Project 3 cubic yards $160 (1 bag) $377 (One 10 yard dumpster)
Basement Cleanout 10 cubic yards $640 (4 bags) $377(One 10 yard dumpster)
Full Kitchen Remodel 20 cubic yards $1,120 (7 bags) $424 (One 20 yard dumpster)
Multi-Room Renovation 30 cubic yards $1,600 (10 bags) $487 (One 30 yard dumpster)

*These numbers are approximate. Research prices in your area for precise information.

With these numbers, you can see that a dumpster bag is an economical choice for small-scale cleanouts or minor home improvement projects with less than 10 cubic yards’ worth of debris. However, for any project with 10 cubic yards of debris or more, a dumpster will almost always be significantly cheaper.

Dumpster Bags vs. Dumpsters: The Verdict

The concept behind the dumpster bag is an intriguing one. It puts a new spin on an old method, and can be a convenient and economical option for DIYers undertaking very small-scale projects. But for larger-scale projects, it doesn’t match up with the affordability of a traditional dumpster. And whereas a roll off container can be used over and over again, a single dumpster bag is just going to become another piece of trash.

So, if you’re asking yourself whether to rent a dumpster bag or a dumpster, the answer for all but the smallest jobs is almost always going to be a dumpster. If you’re considering a dumpster rental, give us a call at 1-866-284-6164 for help choosing the best size for your project.