Green Building Library
Waste Reduction and Recycling

Some Basics About Disposal Costs

There are three costs that make up waste management: handling, transporting and tipping.

Handling

It takes about 2.4 hours per ton to gather and carry construction waste to a dumpster. However, this number can vary widely based on the type of materials and the distance from the jobsite to the dumpster. Note: The cost of handling construction waste is rarely considered in a builder's total waste management costs.

Transporting

Trucking costs include ownership, operation and the driver's labor.

Tipping

Tipping is the fee charged by the facility that receives the material. Landfills and recycling outlets can charge by volume (cubic yard) or by weight (ton). Use the conversions table to work from one type of measurement to the other.  

Fee Structures

Haulers cover the costs of trucking and tipping by charging builders based on:

  • time - a daily or monthly container rental fee
  • weight - a per ton charge
  • volume - a cubic yard or "pull" charge
  • a combination of the three.

Clean-up services may charge by the square foot of the house.

Future Costs

Your disposal costs are largely dependent on local landfill capacities and state/federal solid waste regulations. Therefore, information on trends in your disposal costs is important. For example, a July 1996 federal rule covering the operation of landfills receiving construction and demolition waste will increase landfilling costs in some states as the rule takes effect. Developing new approaches to waste management may pay back in the long run even if current conditions do not warrant them.National AveragesIn a recent NAHB survey, builders reported paying on average just over $600 per home for waste removal and disposal.There are big differences in disposal costs across the country, with some builders paying less than $250 per home and others paying more than $1,000. Almost three out of four builders use a roll-off container, but a significant number, particularly in the West, work with haulers that do not use on-site containers. In addition, builders may handle their own waste removal and disposal.

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Weight to Volume Conversions

Material
Conversion Rate

Wood

300 lbs./cu. yd.
6.7 cu. yd./ton

Cardboard (loose)

30-100 lbs./cu. yd.
20-50 cu. yd./ton

Drywall

400 lbs./cu. yd.
5 cu. yd./ton

Mixed
Waste

350 lbs./cu. yd.
5.7 cu. yd./ton