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How to Choose a Dumpster Rental Company for RCRA Regulated Waste

August 11, 2020

Dumpster Rental Companies for RCRA Regulated Waste; how to choose one.

Liquid hazardous waste is typically stored & staged in drums for eventual shipment to an authorized offsite treatment or disposal facility. On the other hand, solid hazardous waste—or “nonliquid hazardous waste” in EPA parlance—is placed in dumpsters.

So…what kind of dumpsters?

Surprisingly, dumpsters you rent for the temporary storage of hazardous waste are the same as those you might rent for your more-benign garbage, such as municipal trash, construction & demolition debris, yard waste, etc. The biggest difference is that lids are mandatory—not optional—for any dumpster containing hazardous waste. 

Hazardous waste requires special handling. So you’ll need to inform the dumpster rental company upfront that you intend to dispose of some. And, of course, there will be special charges. Also bear in mind that “hazardous waste,” per the EPA, covers a lot of territory: anything that’s ignitable, corrosive, reactive, or toxic.

There are some things that shouldn’t wind up in a dumpster—hazmat or not—and you’ll be forced to remove such peccadillos by the dumpster rental company before they’ll haul it off your site. (BTY, you’ll be incurring extra daily rental fees while you’re doing this remedial dumpster diving).

As we’re fond of advising: get expert advice before proceeding. 

Never mix hazmat with other waste

Covered dumpsters used to store hazmat must be kept discrete. Rental companies will take a very dim view if you mix hazardous and non-hazardous waste in the same one. This is because landfills and other waste-disposal facilities do not allow such comingling—which is a good thing. 

So if the rental company has to hire special help to sort the hazmat from the banana peels in your dumpster, you’re going to pay dearly for it.  You will also be responsible for any & all fines imposed by local, state, and/or federal agencies for your transgressions: major ugly.

Rent the correct size

Probably the most common mistake people make when renting a garbage dumpster—hazmat or not—is specifying the wrong size for the job at hand. 

Yes, you should err on the side of caution by overestimating the size, weight, and amount of what you need to throw away; because if you overfill the garbage dumpster, you’ll be charged something like $40 to $100 per ton for overage (in addition to hazmat surcharges).

But don’t get carried away. While bigger is sometimes better, it’s also more expensive; and you’re trying to throw away garbage—not money. 

The accompanying chart presents some specifications for six different-size trash dumpsters. And to make the capacities more intuitive for you, Column 4 therein converts tonnages into how many trips to the dump it would take in your beloved F-150 to get rid of the stuff.  


1. Nominal


2. Dimensions


3. Capacity


4. Pickup-truck


5. Average national

 rental cost1

6 yards5.0L x 6W x 6H1.0 – 1.22.0 trips$200 – $350
10 yards11 L x 8W x 4H2.0 – 3.03.0 trips$220 – $580
15 yards22 L x 8W x 2H2.0 – 3.04.5 trips$265 – $620
20 yards22 L x 8W x 4H3.06.0 trips$280 – $699
30 yards22 L x 8W x 6H4.0 – 5.09.0 trips$311 – $718
40 yards24 L x 8W x 8H12.012.0 trips$350 – $780
1Does not include hazmat surcharges

Anticipate your costs

The cost of renting a dumpster is lower in accordance with how long you keep it. E.g., the weekly fee for one week is going to be higher than for four: something you should negotiate—or have an expert negotiate it for you. (That would be us.) 

And don’t forget to ask about possible surcharges for tonnage, fuel costs, late fees, and/or the type of debris.

Some companies offer variable rate pricing—charging by the ton—which means you won’t know your final costs until after the dumpster is removed from your site. Others charge flat rates, which makes it easier to anticipate your final costs. Paying by the ton might make sense if you know exactly how much waste you have. Otherwise, flat-rate pricing is safer.

You should get expert advice to secure the best prices for waste dumpster rentals in your geographical area. And here’s a tip:

Make sure to determine at the proverbial get-go who’s responsible to schedule the pickup. 

Most dumpster rental companies require you to call them and make a date. If you’re unaware of this—and the dumpster languishes on your site—you can incur extra rental fees. 

Plan for your dumpster’s placement

Cities, towns, and neighborhoods can be testy about where you place a dumpster and for how long. Some require permits. You need to anticipate this when imagining your workflow; and the dumpster-rental company should be able to inform you about such unanticipated exigencies. 

E.g., if you were thinking about tossing asbestos shingles into the dumpster from the roof, but the dumpster isn’t allowed nearby the building (for whatever reason), you’re going to incur additional time & labor costs…especially since asbestos is hazmat…and you will not be happy. 

What are you getting rid of?

As we’ve blogged about before, the roster of things you can simply toss into a dumpster (as a non-hazardous waste) is getting smaller and smaller. 

Odds are that you’re generating what the EPA considers hazardous if you’re in the business of manufacturing, farming, construction, automotive servicing, laboratory work, or medicine.   Computers, televisions, and cell phones all contain toxic chemicals.

Also: chemical products, oil filters, herbicides, pesticides, radioactive materials, solvents, undried paint, flammable liquids, partially-filled aerosols, propane tanks, automotive lubricants, antifreeze, fluorescent tubes …the list goes on. 

The upshot

As in all things having to do with trash in general and hazardous wastes in specific, the experience, knowledge, and technical resources of a reputable dumpster-rental company are essential to keeping you safe and legal.

Get expert advice about dumpster rentals here. And as always: thank-you for reading our blog!

Disposal of hazardous waste doesn’t have to be painful.