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Rent a Roll Off Container

Whether you’re a homeowner clearing out junk, a contractor handling a small-scale remodel, or a construction company working on a major construction or demolition project, there’s always going to be a need to control the debris that comes with the job. We’re talking about going above and beyond what you can fit in the trash.

In Chicago, there has been an ongoing push for years to recycle as much as possible, whether residential trash or commercial debris. There’s a whole ordinance that covers recycling requirements, covering both residential and commercial properties and detritus.

There’s a lot in there, but the main thing you need to know is that it’s always better to do what you can to recycle anything that you can recycle to avoid filling up our already overstuffed landfills, and to avoid breaking the law by accidentally throwing away hazardous materials.

All of this tends to come back to one thing: a need for dumpsters to handle the junk you need to be removed. You know you need one, but how do you rent one?

Step 1: Determine the Scope of Your Needs

The first thing you need to do is determine the scope of your project. How much junk will you get rid of, and what kind of junk is it?

Depending on the debris, you may need to handle it in ways other than just tossing it in a trash container and letting the city sort it out. Some things are illegal to throw away, and others are plain dangerous.

Determine Scope of Your Project

Here are some questions you should answer:

  • What volume of the junk/debris will you need to be hauled away? If it helps you estimate, a pick-up truck load is about four cubic yards of junk (as a rough comparison). The smallest roll-off containers are usually around 6-10 yards, depending on the rental company.
  • Do you have to remove any hazardous materials? If you have lead paint, chemical containers, asbestos, or other dangerous materials, you can’t just rent a container and have it taken away; you need special remediation.
  • Are you getting rid of anything substantial and bulky or dense and heavy? Some containers will have weight limits, as do the roads they have to travel, so if you’re ripping out a ton of stone or brick, you may need special considerations.
  • Are you a contractor or a commercial company? You probably already have your hookups, but if you’re just getting started, you may need to file special paperwork and recycle a certain percentage of your junk; otherwise, you’ll be liable for a fine.
  • How long do you need to rent the dumpster? Some companies charge by the day, so it may be a good idea to have your junk already sorted and ready to be hauled away before you have your container dropped off.
  • Where are you planning on putting it? It may be against the law to place the dumpster in the street without first applying for a permit with the City of Chicago.
  • How long are you going to take to fill the dumpster? Permit costs vary by area of the city and how long the dumpster is onsite and are an additional cost when renting a dumpster (2022 City of Chicago fee Schedule). Additionally, some companies will charge additional days/time fees increasing your costs.

If you need an idea of what kind of scale you’ll be dealing with, that’s understandable. Many people aren’t particularly good at estimating volume.

  • A 6-yard container is suitable for small projects and household junk. You can use it to clear out a single room, remove a lot of small debris, or haul away a few pieces of larger junk.
  • A 10-yard container is usually a good size for larger room cleanouts, smaller remodeling projects, or landscaping. They can be used to haul away dirt and sand, as well as concrete and brick, up to a certain weight and volume (varying depending on the rental company policies.)
  • A 15-yard container is ideal for larger projects, including roof replacements, more extensive remodels, multi-room remodels, and small teardowns. You can also use them for the debris from tearing up and repaving a driveway, for example, or full to-the-studs remodeling of small homes.
  • A 20-yard container is about the right size for an entire home cleanout, a small hoarding situation, small home remodels, roofing, and other mid-sized or small commercial projects. Be aware that a standard container of this size is 22 feet long from end to end and will require adequate space to place it while you fill it.
  • A 30-yard container is what you need for larger remodels, whole house cleanup projects, and many construction or demolition projects. These are also taller than most containers and are thus harder to place and fill, so keep that in mind.
  • A 40-yard container is about the largest it’s feasible to deliver and haul away. These containers are best for large projects, demolition, whole house cleanouts or multi-unit cleanouts, and other significant needs.
  • There are even larger containers, but at that point, between weight limits and size considerations, they’re generally only feasible for large commercial projects. You’ll often want to rent a smaller container, fill it, have it hauled away and brought back, and fill it again.

Another thing to remember is that a roll-off container is different from a dumpster or other residential trash container. Roll-off containers are delivered via a truck that rolls them off the bed and back on to haul them away when you’ve filled it up. Residential-scale containers are emptied and left in place instead and are meant for a different purpose.

Step 2: Find a Local Company to Rent a Container

There are, conservatively, dozens of companies offering roll-off container rentals in the greater Chicago area. Mostly, they compete based on service area, additional services, and only slightly on pricing. Some specialize in residential services, while others work with commercial contractors. Some prefer to haul household garbage, while others work more for landscaping. It all comes down to your specific needs.

Find Local Company

We don’t have any specific recommendations for a company to hire. There are enough of them with good reviews that you can feel relatively safe renting from most of these local companies.

One thing we recommend doing is asking about what the company does with the debris they remove.

Some take great pains to recycle as much as possible, while others are liable to dump the containers anywhere that will accept them and call it a day. For obvious reasons, we prefer any company that will recycle what they can. It’s better for the city, the state, the environment, and the people.

Step 3: Determine When You’ll Need Your Container

Scheduling is also an essential consideration for any junk removal project. It takes time to deliver a roll-off trash container, fill it, and have it picked up and hauled away. The longer you need the container on standby to fill it, the more it will cost in permitting fees and the dumpster company’s fees. Many rental companies will offer a base duration, such as one week, with a simple drop-off and pick-up schedule. Others are more flexible. There are also longer-duration, empty-as-needed services available if you have a lengthy project that you’re working on.

When Youll Need Container

Remember that, like many things, seasons will affect availability and pricing. In the winter, you may need to contend with snow banks getting in the way of your container. In summer, more people are performing remodeling and landscaping projects, so availability from some companies may be limited.

It’s all highly variable, so you may need to call around for estimates and discussions. Always be sure to plan ahead since you may be charged trip fees if the company is unable to drop off due to lack of space such as parking/location issues.

Step 4: Rent the Container and Fill it Appropriately

Once you know when you’ll need your container and what size of a container you need, all you need to do is pull the trigger on renting one.

Rent Your Container

Then the real work begins.

  • First, ensure the area where you will place the container is clear and accessible. Depending on your site, there may be specific ordinances about whether or not you can put on the container the street or if it needs to be off the roadway and in a driveway. Costs vary by zip code and location, so be aware of any additional costs in your area.
  • Remember that proper water and rodents control is required for any long-term construction or demolition projects. You need to ensure you avoid piling stuff up in a way that could foster mosquitos and other pests or allow rodents to make dens. This generally won’t be a problem for short-term projects, but you still need to keep it in mind.
  • When filling your container, you generally want to load in large and bulky items first so that you can fit smaller items around them. You want to avoid wasting space or creating precarious piles that could be hazardous when the container is loaded and hauled away.
  • Finally, if you’re hauling away hefty debris, such as concrete or brick, you may need to avoid over-filling the container over the weight limit. The specific weight limits of the containers will vary depending on their size, so you’ll need to consult with the company you’re renting from to ensure you don’t overload them and incur additional charges.

On the other hand, this won’t be a concern if you’re getting rid of construction debris like scrap wood or household items of various sorts; it’s when you’re primarily hauling heavy debris (plaster, dirt, brick, or concrete) away that it becomes a concern.

Step 5: Check if You Need an Extension or a Second Container

We’ve all run into scope creep; it’s just a thing that happens. Maybe your room cleanout revealed damage that requires complete demolition. Perhaps you decided to tear out more than just one room, or maybe a tree you were trimming revealed a rotten trunk that needs the whole thing removed.

Filing an Extension

In any case, if you find that you’ve filled up your container and you need more space, don’t try to over-stack the container.

Instead, call the company you rented from and ask them about emptying the container and bringing in a new one. Trust us; it’s a routine procedure.

Step 6: Finish Your Project and Clean Everything Up

Once you’re done with your project and have the bulk of your debris hauled away, you’ll likely need to do some cleanup. Depending on the kind of junk, you may consider going over the outdoor area with a magnet to pick up stray nails or other sharp bits of metal that could puncture a tire.

Clean Everything Up

You may want to check the site around and beneath the container to eliminate any stray debris missed when you loaded it. And, of course, you should fully clear any piles you made for staging.

Step 7: Consider Our Junk Removal Service Instead

There are two big problems with renting a roll-off container for your junk removal needs.

  1. The first is that all you’re getting is the container. You still have to do all the work of hauling out the junk, loading the container, and ensuring it’s all adequately loaded. That can be hard work!
  2. The second Is that you have to deal with a lot of hassle coordinating drop offs, confirming it fits on site, and making sure you’re not paying for unused space if the debris volume is less than the dumpster size. If you have 7 yards of debris in a 10 yard dumpster you’re probably over paying.

At Junk Relief, we solve both of these problems.

Junk Removal Service

We don’t bring in a roll-off container and leave it in your yard; we bring as many trucks (15 cubic yard dumpster equivalent) as you need and people to load them. You point us at the junk you need to be removed, and we take it away for you. We handle every step of the process, from all the heavy lifting and hard labor to proper rehoming or recycling.

Likewise, we also ensure that the maximum possible amount of recyclable materials are recycled. Anything that we can’t recycle but can be recycled is brought to our partners at Lakeshore Recycling. Everything you can recycle will be there, and only the bare minimum of unsalvageable trash will be discarded.

We take recycling very seriously, and we’re proud to have returned and helped save usable materials and items to the community through donations and resale. You can read more about the whole process here.

So, do you need a roll-off trash container? Maybe; there are certain circumstances where you may need greater capacity than we can field at once, or you have a long-term project and don’t want to (or can’t) stage your materials for later removal. In those cases, feel free to rent a roll-off trash container.

For everything else, contact Junk Relief today. We’ve seen it all, and we can help you with any junk removal project you have, no matter what you need to be removed or how much of it there is.


Joe Weidman

Joe is a Chicago native, born and raised in Elmhurst. He founded Junk Relief more than 10 years ago and has worked with more than 20,000 homeowners and businesses throughout Chicagoland. His passion for starting a business in junk removal stemmed from seeing the need to do things differently. He prides himself on his company's model to provide unexpectedly professional service.


If you’ve got junk in Chicago or the Chicagoland Suburbs, we can help. CALL US or TEXT US at (312) 800-1940.


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