Tips & Ideas

Disasters & Dumpster – Proper Sizing


March 15, 2021

Disasters and dumpsters seem like they would go together in the Chicago area where severe weather is always a concern. If you find yourself facing a large-scale cleanup after any kind of disaster scenario, it can be helpful to know how to choose the right container for your situation. Brackenbox is happy to offer you some smart tips for selecting a dumpster size that will meet your disaster cleanup needs.

Why use a dumpster?

Why choose a dumpster for disaster cleanup? There are numerous reasons, not the least of which is saving time. Hauling and disposing of waste can be a complex project that adds a significant amount of time to any cleanup situation. The hours spent doing this type of work is time you aren’t spending on the rebuild—or on getting your business up and running again. Dumpsters provide for a quick pick-up at your convenience once the container is filled and you don’t have to worry about where to go to get rid of all the waste.

Another reason dumpsters make sense is safety. Disasters leave a mess in their wake, and the area is often filled with hazardous materials such as broken glass, sharp pieces of metal, and other dangerous items. Getting all of these things cleaned up not only makes for a safer job site, but it also looks much better, as well. Your neighbors will appreciate the fact that your property doesn’t look like an eyesore, and your customers won’t have to navigate through the debris to get to your door.

Divide and conquer

If you find yourself facing a cleanup after some kind of disaster situation, it’s a good idea to divide up the piles of waste so you have a clearer picture of what you are looking at in terms of disposal. For example, a high windstorm may have downed many branches, or even some smaller trees on your property. You won’t want to waste valuable dumpster space on these items if you can have them picked up by your landscaping team for a small fee, or if the city will collect them with the usual yard waste pickup.

Another consideration is recycling. If you have debris that can be recycled rather than thrown in a dumpster, this can be a cost saver, as well. Although it may seem like this adds time to the cleanup project, taking the time to make sure you aren’t paying for material cleanup that you don’t have to makes good sense. Recycle what you can and toss the rest.

Once you have things sorted, you’ll have a much better idea of how much material you’re dealing with for the cleanup. This will make selecting a dumpster size both an easier and a more accurate process. When everything is piled together, it can be very difficult to get a good estimate.

Choosing a container size

Roll off containers are probably the best solution for disaster debris cleanup as they can be dropped off, filled, and then removed by the company that is renting it out. Understanding how much waste a dumpster will hold can be tricky, but here are a few guidelines that will help you out.

Understanding cubic yards

Dumpsters hold cubic yards. This means a 10 yard dumpster will hold 10 cubic yards of waste. To visualize how much one cubic yard is, imagine a box that is 3 feet high, 3 feet long, and 3 feet wide. A 10 yard dumpster would hold approximately 10 of those, a 20 yard dumpster would hold about 20 of them, and so on.

Consider the materials

One thing to keep in mind is that, in a dumpster, not everything will lay flat. Be sure to consider the size and shapes of the materials you need to get rid of, and how these items will sit once inside the container. Large, awkward items can reduce the interior space of a dumpster significantly. You might want to take the time to break down any materials that will take up space in a way that prevents other items from sitting inside the dumpster easily.

Go up a size

Once you get an idea of the size dumpster you’ll need, it can be smart to go up a size just to be on the safe side. The fact that things don’t always fit seamlessly can be an issue and you don’t want to find you have a pile left over that you could have disposed of if you had just gone a little bigger in the first place. Plus, most companies will not allow overfilling of dumpsters, so you can’t just pile debris on top once the container is full. The team at Brackenbox will be glad to help you find an approximate size if you need a bit of help. Just give us a call.

Contact us for help sizing dumpsters!