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Helping End Users Select the Best Option for Debris Removal for their Project

Monday, April 2, 2018

As published in the April 2018 edition of Waste News:

The above link is the complete published article written by Paul DiSpazio, founder and CEO of BullBag Corporation. 

Below is the article for your reading convenience.

Helping end users select the best option for debris removal for their project.

Debris removal is a sore topic for many people. There are many questions that enter into customers heads when they are contemplating renovating a kitchen or bathroom, cleaning out a basement or garage, or preparing to move/relocate:

  • Do I use a person with a trailer or similar company?
  • Should I just rent a dumpster?
  • How do I get a dumpster? What size do I need to rent?
  • How do I find a good one that is honest?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Is it going to damage my driveway or lawn?
  • How long will I need the dumpster for?
  • How long will it take to be delivered and then picked up?
  • Do I need to get town or HOA permission?
  • Where do I put it on my property?
  • Is there any other option than a metal dumpster?!


These are just the tip of the iceberg when we speak with potential customers – but the most common ones asked. There are no straight forward or easy way to answer these questions as it seems like every contractor and landscaper who is looking to make a quick buck is calling themselves a debris removal expert with the best pricing and a trailer. But taking an individual’s statement that they provide the best pricing isn’t the only thing that customers should consider. Remember, the generator of the debris owns it from the time they have it to the time its in the landfill. So, what happens if the trailer spills it or the people don’t cover it and it either blows out damaging a vehicle or littering the road? Guess what?! You are the one who is responsible.

As a fellow homeowner, I pride myself on my home. I want to make sure my house always looks inviting and the most attractive it can and am always doing some DIY project on weekends or hiring contractors for more involved projects.

I have found that metal dumpsters are often delivered rusty, dirty, while emitting ‘wonderful aromas’. They often damage asphalt driveways, crack pavers, destroy lawns and are an eyesore. This goes against everything I want for my home, and what my neighbors should have to contend with.  Not to mention, everyone knows I am doing another project – so forget any privacy I may have had!  (And who appreciates a neighbor with a huge dumpster? Everyone in the neighborhood who fills it with their items when you aren’t looking.)  A huge benefit to metal dumpster is that they are available in a variety of sizes so I don’t have to rent a gigantic one for a half bathroom remodel when a small one would do the job.

Often times, towns and HOA’s (Home Owner Association’s) have regulations or requirements around the use of metal dumpsters. They take up parking spaces, can be eyesores, and cause damage. Some towns require the purchase of permits or you risk getting fined by the town.

As the person who has to ‘write the checks’ each month, I have never been able to figure out - despite asking every dumpster company I have called in each of the states I have lived – exactly how much will the rental cost me. Their customer service teams just cite lingo I don’t understand (MSW for example!) and tell me how many days I can have the dumpster along with the rental price. I am usually surprised to find out that the dumpster can’t be delivered for 2 days – there goes my weekend renovation warrior plans! Then, at the end of the rental period, I have often needed to call for the company to come get their dumpster lest I risk being charged per day rental fees! Here is what I feel is the ‘best’ part of this whole dumpster experience: I have always received over weight fees, fuel surcharges for delivery and pickup, environmental surcharges. With a dumpster it is impossible to know how much the stuff you toss inside actually weighs! Whether you are disposing of old carpeting and sheet rock or old toys you must contend with the weight that snow, melted snow, ice or rain adds to it! Have you actually stopped to think about how much a twin size mattress weighs when it has been soaked with rain???  Then after it’s gone, you have to reseed your lawn, patch your driveway or replace pavers! Nothing like another project to do that was the result of your previous accomplishment! The dumpster company always has your credit card on file when they delivery the dumpster so you are just out of luck – you are paying that bill whether you agree with it or not!

The next debris removal option I have tried is using people to remove it for me. I have always had mixed feelings about strangers in my house, potential injuries that could impact my homeowners insurance, or the feeling that I have ‘servants’.  At the end of the day, I struggle with the concept of having a stranger in my home. 

The services that show up with their own truck and charge you by the space you take up or the single man who arrives with his own trailer and offers ‘dump runs’ offer an invaluable service. However, when you compare the space volume with the actual price they charge for the service (labor included), it usually ends up costing more than that of – damage to your driveway and lawn included – a smelly, rusty, metal dumpster.

Another 2 options involve the customer handling it himself. I have personally done this thinking I am being frugal and saving money! I would fill up the back seat of my car and trunk and bring it to the town transfer stations on Saturday mornings and sort it there myself or embarrassedly, put it into black lawn bags and place inside my home garbage containers for my weekly town pickup – all the while hoping the driver doesn’t get nosey and peak inside the bags. The first option, although an opportunity to interact with my town neighbors on a Saturday morning, I have found that my time on Saturday mornings was always better spent riding bikes with my kids, or enjoying breakfast with my spouse. Saturday morning ‘dump runs’ are a huge time suck for me, and a waste of time that ends up costing me more in way of quality of life despite the financial savings this option affords. The second option – well – I am not one to sneak around so this was very stressful for me. I do use my weekly garbage though for the occasional repair but it’s not as if I am filling up 2 garbage pails for several days with my project.

Finally, I have discovered another option. This option is called the dumpster bag. There are basically two different types of bags – one that is a single use bag that gets disposed of when you have it picked up resulting in the necessity purchase another when you want to do another project and the second is reusable and guaranteed for life which you don’t have to every purchase again. The first one results in more debris in landfills whereas the reusable second bag can be rolled up and stored. The single use bag requires you to go to a hardware store to purchase a new one often resulting in the delay of the start of your project. The reusable second bag is ready whenever I am. The single use bags are just that – bags. They don’t stay open on their own and have limitations as to where you can place them. The reusable bag comes with poles so the bag is kept upright and open making it easy to fill. The reusable bag can also be picked up from behind fences, on top of stone walls, from inside garages, on second story scaffolding, patios and decks and do not cause damage to driveways, lawns or pavers. The single use bag holds up to 3 cubic yards and has a set price often not accepting yard debris (project limitation issue), while the reusable bag offers 3 fill heights holding up to 8 cubic yards for the customer. Neither bag charges by the weight as does metal dumpsters. Both essentially use volume as does the people removal options, but without the labor cost associated with it. Pricing for these two options is significantly less expensive than metal dumpsters and the people removal options.

While each debris removal option is a viable one, it is important for consumers of these services to understand the benefits and limitations of each.  In the debris removal industry, we must all work harder at educating our customers while providing clear explanations to the costs and fees associated with each. The debris removal industry is large enough for everyone to have their niche but through this clear communication, we can offer customers the feeling that we are the solution providers that will make their lives easier.

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