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Bagster vs. Dumpster: Which One Is Better for You?

bagster filled with concrete debris

Bagster vs. Dumpster: Pros and Cons of the “Portable Dumpster”

When managing waste during a home improvement or decluttering project, you may have to choose between buying a Bagster or renting a roll-off dumpster. While Bagsters, also known as Waste Management Bagsters, are a popular option, they may not be the most cost-effective or practical solution to handling your waste needs. Sometimes called a "dumpster in a bag" or a "dumpster bag", there are some major differences between a dumpster and a dumpster bag rental. Here are some reasons why a roll off dumpster may be a better choice than a bagster for handling your project debris.

What Is A Bagster?

A Bagster is Waste Management's "solution" to making affordable dumpster services. It is a heavy-duty bag made of canvas that can hold up to 3 cubic yards, or 1.65 tons of weight. This is about the same capacity as half of a 10-yard dumpster. The Bagster's purchase price is seemingly low, typically around 30 dollars. However, once you calculate the total cost including pickup and scheduling fees, the dumpster bag is overpriced compared to a typical dumpster rental. 

How Much Does the Bagster Cost?

While the initial price of the bag starts at a flat $29.99, collection fees quickly add up, especially if you require pickups for multiple dumpster bags. The flat rate price also changes depending on where you purchase your bag, as you must buy the WM dumpster bag at Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, or other home improvement stores. Unlike a dumpster rental, where the dumpster is delivered directly to your job site, you must go out of your way to purchase a dumpster bag. 

Additionally, dumpster costs generally include pickup, dumping fees, and removal costs bundled into one package at checkout, making it easier to budget for your waste management needs.

What Is The Collection Fee For Bagster?

The Bagster collection fee is the amount it costs for WM to pick up your bag for dumping. The price depends on your zip code, but average prices range between $100-$300, with additional costs for picking up multiple bags. Other costs are associated with Bagsters, such as the Guaranteed Day Service (GDS) charge. This fee is a flat cost added to the Bagster removal cost to ensure your Bagster pick-up happens on the day you request. Without this service, WM will pick up your Bagster within a 7-day period.

What Is the Bagster "Rental" Process?

The Bagster must first be purchased from a home improvement store or online retailer. To use the Bagster, you need to determine if it is available for pick-up in your location as the service is not available in all locations.

Once you have confirmed the availability, you can purchase the Bagster from authorized retailers such as Home Depot, Lowe's, or Amazon. Following the instructions provided with the bag, you can set it up and start filling it up with your waste.

When you have completed filling the bag, you can schedule a pick-up service with Waste Management (WM). WM will collect the Bagster from your location within a 5-day time frame and you will be charged a collection fee for the pick-up.

Overall, the Bagster process involves purchasing the bag, filling it up with waste, scheduling a pick-up with WM, and paying a fee for the pick-up service.

The Bagster pickup can take five or more business days without the Guaranteed Day Service payment. Unlike a dumpster rental which has a guaranteed pickup date, the Bagster pickup is up in the air without the Guaranteed Day Service. 

Another downside about Bagsters is that they are not reusable but single-use products. In terms of environmental impact, this is not promising since these bags will also head to dumps and landfills with the trash they carry. Each time you want to use a Bagster, you must purchase another one, which isn't great for your pocket or the environment. Dumpsters, on the other hand, can be reused repeatedly since they are made of durable metal.

Bagster Weight Limits and Sizes 

Bagsters are available in one size, which is 8ft long x 4ft wide x 2.5ft high. Bulky furniture, appliances, and construction materials may not fit in the Bagster, making it challenging to dispose of them with this container. You may require multiple Bagsters to accommodate your waste, increasing the overall cost.

Traditional dumpsters can handle a wide range of waste and debris from construction sites, commercial properties, and residential locations. Dumpsters are also available in sizes from 10 to 40 cubic yards. The roll-off dumpster size need depends on the type and volume of waste materials you dispose of. One of the benefits of using a dumpster is that it provides ample space to dispose of all your waste in one container. This means you don't have to worry about scheduling multiple pickups or dumpster rentals. Instead, you can fill up the dumpster at your convenience and have all your waste hauled away at once when you complete your project.

Additionally, another drawback of Bagsters is their weight limit. The Bagster weight limit is 3,300 pounds, which may not be sufficient for larger multi-room projects or commercial use. While 3,300 pounds may seem like a lot of weight, you can quickly reach that amount with larger construction projects or commercial waste. For instance, a multi-room renovation or a commercial building demolition may produce significantly more debris than the Bagster can handle. You may need to use multiple Bagsters in such cases, which can be time-consuming and expensive as there is an additional fee of at least 100 dollars per bag collected. 

In addition to their size, traditional dumpsters are designed to handle heavier loads. This makes them the ideal choice for construction debris, large furniture items, and other heavy waste materials. The dumpster's sturdy construction and weight-bearing capacity allow it to handle these materials with ease.

What Can I Put In A Bagster? 

Bagsters are designed to handle household and construction waste, but there are limits to what can be disposed of in these bags.

According to Waste Management, Bagsters cannot take in hazardous materials, appliances, electronics, or yard waste. Appliances and electronics, such as refrigerators and televisions, contain hazardous components that require special handling and disposal and cannot be placed in a dumpster bag.

Additionally, materials like yard waste, such as tree branches, leaves, or grass clippings are not allowed in Bagsters. These types of waste require specialized composting or mulching facilities to prevent contamination and promote proper decomposition.

In contrast, traditional dumpsters can accommodate a broader range of waste types, including appliances, electronics, and yard waste. Some dumpster rental companies often have specific guidelines for what can and cannot be disposed of in their containers, but the range of acceptable waste types is typically broader than what is allowed in Bagsters.

For more versatility and freedom in discarding the trash, a traditional roll off dumpster may be a more practical option.

What Can You Not Put In A Bagster?

Items that cannot go in the Bagster dumpster bag rental are:

  1. Anything toxic or hazardous

  2. Paint

  3. Oil

  4. Batteries

  5. Fluorescent light bulbs

  6. Appliances

  7. Electronics

  8. Food waste

  9. Tires

  10. Pesticides

  11. Chemicals

  12. Yard waste (only in some areas)

Similar to a roll off dumpster, all hazardous waste is prohibited from being thrown out in a dumpster bag rental. Additionally, all of the above items are not allowed in a Bagster and must be taken to a special facility for dumping, or picked up by your local municipality hazardous waste department.

Problems With Bagsters

Bagsters are a popular waste disposal solution because of their convenience and flexibility, but they are not as sturdy as traditional dumpsters.

Durability and Accessibility

Bagsters are made of a durable, tear-resistant material, but there is still a possibility of ripping or tearing, especially if overfilled or mishandled. This can lead to a messy and potentially hazardous situation, especially if the waste inside is sharp, heavy, or otherwise dangerous.

Furthermore, Bagsters require a flat and accessible surface for pickup, which may be challenging to find in urban or densely populated areas. It can be particularly problematic for construction sites with limited space or residential areas with narrow streets and tight parking spaces.

In contrast, traditional dumpsters are designed to handle heavy and bulky items and are much less likely to break. These containers are made of sturdy, industrial-grade materials that can withstand the wear and tear of waste disposal.

Dumpsters are typically placed on a solid foundation, such as a concrete pad, to ensure stability and prevent tipping. This reduces the risk of accidents and provides safe waste disposal. Dumpsters can be secured with lids or covers, which can prevent waste from blowing away and discourage unauthorized access or illegal dumping.

Are Dumpster Bags Worth It?

For smaller renovation projects and cleanups, the dumpster bag might be a good option. On average, the cost for a dumpster bag is around $170, including $140 pickup and $30 purchase price. The dumpster bag has a capacity of 3 cubic yards, which is less than 1/3 of the capacity of our smallest 10 cubic yard dumpster.

On the other hand, a 10 cubic yard dumpster rental costs an average of $350. This means for less than 1/3 the capacity of a 10 yard dumpster, you're paying about 40% of the price for a dumpster bag.

This can be a good deal if you only have a small amount of waste and don't need additional space for your debris. However, if you have more than 3 cubic yards worth of debris, the dumpster bag quickly becomes the less-economical choice.

dumpster truck dropping off roll off dumpster

Roll Off Dumpster Rental vs. Dumpster Bag Rental

Whether you need a dumpster bag rental or a roll off dumpster depends on your project and the amount of material it generates. Your choice also depends on how long you want to wait for your waste to be picked up since roll off dumpster pickups are much faster than dumpster bag pickups.

If you need a quick waste disposal service with a scheduled pickup date for a large amount of waste, rent an affordable dumpster rental to manage your waste. If you have a smaller amount of waste and want to keep a waste container for an undetermined amount of time, a dumpster bag rental might be for you.

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