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Roll Off Dumpster vs. Dumpster Bag: Which Is Best for Your Cleanup?

Blue Dumpster and Green Dumpster Bag in Driveway
By:Ali Hurley| Last Updated:03/14/2024
Time to Read: 8 min

Should I Use a Dumpster or Dumpster Bag?

It can be difficult to decide what the right junk removal solution is for any project, from decluttering your garage to renovating your home. Hauling debris to the landfill yourself is one option. But you’ll likely need to make several trips depending on the size of your mess — and the capacity of your vehicle.

If the idea of multiple trips to the dump with your trash bags riding shotgun doesn’t sound appealing, roll off dumpsters and portable dumpster bags, such as Bagsters, are another alternative. They save you from endless trips to the landfill and help you keep a cleaner workspace, so you can focus on the job. But what’s the difference between them? And which is better for your project?


Dumpster Bag vs. Dumpster: What’s the Difference?

We’ve rounded up the pros and cons of renting a dumpster and using a collapsible dumpster bag, so you can decide which disposal option is right for you.

Blue Budget Dumpster Dumpster in Driveway

What Is a Roll Off Dumpster?

A roll off dumpster is a rectangular, open-top container on wheels used for home improvement and construction projects. They’re called “roll off” dumpsters because they roll off the truck once they reach your driveway or jobsite. A specialized roll off truck is necessary to pick it up when you finish your cleanup.

Pros of Renting a Roll Off Dumpster

Cons of Renting a Roll Off Dumpster

Efficient and eco-friendly, hauling all your waste in one trip without the use of plastic bags.

Requires some heavy lifting to fill the bin by yourself.

Create a safe working environment with a designated space for debris.

Space requirements — containers need to sit on a flat, paved surface.

Toss a variety of trash, including household junk, yard waste and construction debris.

Larger sizes aren’t ideal for small amounts of waste. The smallest size holds about three pickup trucks’ worth of debris.

Not sure where to start when it comes to renting a dumpster? Check out our Dumpster Rental 101 Guide!

Green Dumpster Bag In Street

What Is a Dumpster Bag?

A dumpster bag is a disposable dumpster made of tough, woven material that is typically for single use. Most dumpster bags can hold about 3 cubic yards of junk. How do dumpster bags work? You can buy them at most home improvement stores. Then, simply fill them up, contact the manufacturer for removal and place them outside for pickup. However, not all trash services provide dumpster bag removal. You’ll need to check with the manufacturer of the junk removal bag of your choice to see if it provides service in your area.

Pros of Using a Dumpster Bag

Cons of Using a Dumpster Bag

Keep it as long as needed.

Manufacturers of dumpster bags don’t service every area.

Easy to fit on private property and can even be kept indoors for household jobs.

Not ideal for larger renovations or junk removal projects, since they are only 3 cubic yards.

Cost-effective cleanup solution for small jobs, with a price of about $30 plus a pickup fee of about $175 per bag.

Single use, so not very eco-friendly. You’ll need to keep buying them if one bag doesn’t do the job.

Close Up of Blue Budget Dumpster Dumpster

What to Consider Before Choosing a Dumpster vs. Dumpster Bag

Whether renting a dumpster or using a collapsible dumpster bag is better for your project depends on the size of your project and the amount and type of debris you’re tossing. Below are some key differences between the two disposal options.


Dumpster: Roll off dumpsters come in a range of sizes, usually from 10 cubic yards to 40 cubic yards, making them a great junk removal solution for a variety of jobs. One cubic yard is about the size of a standard washing machine. You can also rent 12, 15, 20 and 30 yard roll off containers, depending on your location and needs.

Dumpster Bag: Most portable dumpster bags, including Bagster, hold 3 cubic yards. This is equal to about three washing machines.

Weight Limit

Dumpster: Roll off container weight limits vary. A 10 yard dumpster can typically hold 1 to 2 tons of household junk or construction debris. 40 yard dumpsters can usually hold about 4 to 5 tons of waste. If you’re getting rid of heavy materials, you can request a limit of up to 10 tons. Because of the high weight by volume of heavy debris, you won’t be able to fill your entire dumpster and stay under the weight limit. For example, when renting a 10 yard bin, you can expect to only fill it about halfway when tossing dirt or concrete.

Dumpster Bag: The typical dumpster bag weight limit is 3,300 pounds, or 1.65 tons. Like dumpsters, if you’re tossing heavy materials you won’t be able to fill the junk removal bag all the way. The weight limit for a Bagster doesn’t change for heavy debris like rocks, asphalt and sand. So you’ll only be able to use about 1 cubic yard of the space to stay under the weight limit – about a third of the bag itself.

Our weight calculators can help you estimate your tonnage of debris to help you choose the right disposal option.


Dumpster: A roll off dumpster requires a flat, paved surface. Your bin can go in your driveway, or it may be delivered to your jobsite or a nearby street. (You may need a dumpster permit from your local municipality to keep your bin in the street.) If the location you choose has an incline that requires you to use a parking brake, then it’s too steep for a container.

Dumpster Bag: You can place your collapsible dumpster anywhere it fits, except in the street. A flat area is best for the bag to keep its shape and prevent the materials from falling out. For pickup, your junk removal bag must be within 16 feet of the street and 5 feet away from any structures or objects. Once full, your bag will be difficult to carry, so you should probably keep it in its pickup spot for the whole project.


Dumpster: A roll off dumpster is made of heavy-duty metal and will not lose its shape or tear.

Dumpster Bag: The bag is made of tarp-like materials with handles. To keep its shape, it’s best to fill up the edges first. Overfilling may cause tearing.

Permitted Materials

Dumpster: You can toss a variety of trash in a dumpster, including home clutter, tree stumps and asphalt. You can also throw away appliances, electronics and mattresses in certain bins. This varies by location and may result in an extra fee. There are some prohibited items that can never go in a dumpster. These materials include chemicals, car batteries, railroad ties and other hazardous waste.

Dumpster Bag: What you can toss in a dumpster bag is similar to a roll off container, with a few exceptions. Dumpster bags can hold household junk, construction debris, furniture, shingles, sinks and bathtubs. In some areas, Bagsters cannot take yard waste. Electronics, appliances and hazardous waste are never allowed in a dumpster bag. Keep in mind that a portable dumpster bag will lose its shape if you fill it with oddly shaped materials. This may make it more difficult to move around and keep your trash inside.


Dumpster: When you rent a dumpster, the hauling company will pick up your bin and take it to the landfill for you. Go online or call to schedule your pickup before the last day of your rental period.

Dumpster Bag: Who picks up dumpster bags? Collapsible dumpsters are picked up by the manufacturer of the bag. Dumpster bag pickup is not offered in all locations where bags are sold. If it’s in your area, you can call or schedule your pickup online. If you’re using a Bagster, you’ll need to provide your address, the exact location of the bag and the contents of the bag.

Yellow Dumpster Bags on Grass

Dumpster Rental vs. Dumpster Bag Cost

So, which disposal solution is more cost-effective? It depends. If you’ll be getting rid of less than 10 cubic yards of debris, a dumpster bag is likely a better investment. If your debris weighs more than 2 tons, a 20 cubic yard dumpster rental is more budget-friendly. A 20 yard roll off dumpster can hold about 110 to 130 33-gallon trash bags. To compare, 3 cubic yards, the size of one dumpster bag, would fit about 30 gallon-sized trash bags.

You could rent multiple dumpster bags for a larger project. However, remember that with each disposable bag you purchase, there’s the price of the bag and a separate pickup fee. If you’ll need 10 bags to complete your junk removal project, it will cost over $2,000 — that’s about three times the national average for a dumpster rental.

Quotation Mark Icon

“Unless you have a very small amount of debris renting a roll off container with flat rate pricing typically makes more sense cost-wise.”
Jack Hones, Director of Retail Sales, Budget Dumpster

Truck Hauling Blue Budget Dumpster Dumpster

Dumpster Rental Cost

The cost of renting a dumpster varies by state. It depends on the size of your bin, the type and amount of debris you’re tossing and the length of your rental period. The national average to rent a roll off dumpster is $470. Across the U.S., you could pay anywhere from $200 to $1,000 for a bin.

Check Out Dumpsters Near You

White Dumpster Bags Filled With Brick Debris

Dumpster Bag Cost

A junk removal bag costs about $30 upfront per bag. The dumpster bag pickup cost is an additional charge of about $175 per bag, depending on the company. So, if you use one bag and don’t overfill it, your total will come to about $205. But if you need two bags, or even just one and a half, your total will come to $410.

Should You Rent a Dumpster Bag or a Dumpster?

If you need multiple dumpster bags to complete your project, renting a dumpster is likely a better choice. However, if you only need a single bag, a collapsible dumpster may be the way to go. When making your choice, keep in mind what exactly you’re tossing and how much debris you need to throw away.

Quotation Mark Icon

“Anytime a customer has more than 3 cubic yards of debris it makes sense to get a roll off container. I have also heard of customers having difficulties getting pickups scheduled due to location and how the dumpster bag was filled which isn’t typically a concern with renting a container.”
Jack Hones, Director of Retail Sales, Budget Dumpster


When to Rent a Dumpster

  • Large landscaping projects
  • Home renovations
  • Demolition jobs
  • Whole-house cleanout

Not sure which roll off dumpster to rent for your project?
Find the right container with our Roll Off Dumpsters Guide!

When to Use a Dumpster Bag

  • Removing a small deck or patio
  • Remodeling a small room
  • Removing carpet from a small room
  • Decluttering a small area of your home

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