Dumpster Rental Resources: Understanding Cubic Yards
What Is a Cubic Yard and How Can You Estimate Cubic Yardage?
A cubic yard is the volume of a cube with a length, width and height of one yard (3 feet or 36 inches). You can easily calculate cubic yardage by converting all three dimensions of an item into yards and multiplying them. For example, if you have debris that is 9 feet long, 3 feet wide and 12 inches tall, you have one cubic yard of material. Here’s how it breaks down:
- Given that 3 feet is equivalent to 1 yard, 9 feet equals 3 total yards in length.
- The width is easily measured as 3 feet equals 1 yard in width.
- Given that 12 inches is equivalent to 1 foot, 1 foot equals 1/3 of a yard in height.
Multiplying the three dimensions, once converted to yards, will give you the total cubic yardage of your debris. In this case, 3 yards x 1 yard x 1/3 yard equals a single cubic yard.
While calculating cubic yardage will not always be that simplistic, especially for materials like concrete, gravel and dirt, having some understanding of how to do so can go a long way in filling up a dumpster.
Estimating Cubic Yards in Your Dumpster Rental
An easy way to answer “How much is a cubic yard?” is to compare it to common items you’ve seen and used. The most popular example of this is equating cubic yards to pickup trucks. In this case, the typical full-size truck bed can hold between 2-3 cubic yards of material. That means a 10 cubic yard dumpster can hold at least three pickup truck loads (depending on the weight of your debris).
Here’s what our other common dumpster sizes can hold in terms of truck loads:
- 20 cubic yard dumpster – Equivalent to about six pickup truck loads.
- 30 cubic yard dumpster – Roughly equivalent to nine pickup trucks of debris.
- 40 cubic yard dumpster – Can hold about 12 pickup trucks of materials.
It may also be beneficial to think of a cubic yard in terms of wheelbarrow loads, as it’s a great tool to bring materials into your container. Typically, 9-12 wheelbarrow trips are equivalent to one cubic yard of material. Keeping this in mind can help you estimate cubic yards as your project progresses.
Knowing what a cubic yard looks like can be helpful when filling up your dumpster, but it’s critical to follow some basic guidelines to ensure an affordable and efficient rental. Most importantly, keep your materials below the edges of the container. Nothing should be sticking up over the top or hanging over the sides. Stacking your materials into the dumpster accordingly, as you see in the picture above, can go a long way in maximizing your space.