Garbage removal cost guide

There is no household in the United States, or in the whole of the world for that matter, that doesn't generate a certain amount of garbage every day. This can be food waste, debris from a building project, or old things like refrigerators that no longer satisfy their owners' needs. By some estimates, every 24 hours Americans produce around 4.5 pounds of trash, which needs to be dumped or recycled in some way. Otherwise, we will simply drown in it. Luckily, there are enough trash removal companies in this country to fulfill the waste-liberation mission. However, how much money they charge varies greatly from coast to coast. This guide explains what determines the price in the bill and addresses other important issues related to the garbage removal process.

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The garbage removal service is the collection of waste, junk, and trash from households by means of a hauling vehicle and transporting those unwanted items to a special facility to be professionally destroyed (if it's hazardous waste), recycled, or simply dumped in a landfill. The prices of garbage removal companies vary from state to state and typically range from $140 to $360 depending on several factors such as the type of garbage, location, population density, and others.

Garbage removal services provided

The cost of the garbage removal largely depends on the type of garbage we have to deal with. Usually, when talking about garbage, we mean junk, trash, and waste.

What's the difference between junk, trash, and waste?

These are not completely interchangeable terms. While they all denote some stuff that people no longer need, these are three separate groups.


This is all the usual garbage that households generate on a daily basis including boxes from detergents and other household items, food waste like fish or meat bones, and similar things. Trash is collected by garbage removal companies according to a fixed schedule.


This means bulky and heavy items that a trash company has no resources to collect. Examples include old refrigerators, washing machines, pieces of furniture, pianos, and the like.


This category includes things that require specific methods of treatment in order to prevent them from damaging the environment or affecting people’s health. Waste is further subdivided into several groups:

  • Debris that remain from building projects such as cement that was not used or pieces of concrete.
  • Chemicals and other dangerous substances. Those include things like fluorescent lamps, which can't be disposed of by just being dumped in a landfill and need to be destroyed at special facilities.

Price-related questions

What factors determine the garbage removal cost?

How much garbage removal companies charge for their services depends on several factors:


If the place where you live is situated away from large cities, you will have to pay more to haulers as they may have to travel a long distance to a landfill and back. That requires more fuel and man-hours.

Number of local residents

Two situations are possible:

  • You live in a place with a large number of residents. There can be traffic problems and obstacles on the way of hauling trucks to garbage collection spots. Result: higher prices.
  • You live on a scarcely populated territory. This, again, can be more costly as trucks have to cover a longer distance with a relatively small amount of garbage.
How many hauling companies operate in the area

The open market dictates prices. If several equal businesses compete in your neighborhood, they may be more motivated to offer lower prices.


The trash that haulers collect is transported to the closest landfill. Haulers have to pay for dumping every ton of garbage there, and the price is determined by these factors:

  • Distance from the residential area to the landfill
  • Local, state, and federal taxes
  • Cost of the land on the landfill site
  • Other expenses companies have to incur in a particular location

All the money haulers have to give away they take from their customers afterwards.

How much gas costs

The price of fuel in different states, counties, and towns varies a great deal. That inevitably reflects on the final bill.

How much do companies charge for trash removal?

Trash is normally collected on a daily basis with a monthly or annual charge. On average, it will cost in the range between $150 to $260 per year and between $20 and $50 per month. There is also the so called setup charge taken only once. It is usually from $35 to $60.

Some companies try to bring prices down by hiring garbage collectors without experience or restoring old trucks (a new truck may cost up to $200,000).

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How much do companies charge for junk and waste removal?

As for junk removal, its price depends largely on what exactly you throw away, as well as on how heavy and bulky it is. The average lower price is around $140 and the average higher price is approximately $360. Waste removal is more expensive: typically a business will have to pay around $390 while a homeowner will be charged something like $260.

There are two principal options: based on the item and based on the truckload.

Based on the item

  • Taking a refrigerator out of your house forever requires highly professional services since it contains freon. Typically, the price is $12 a gallon or a little less.
  • Throwing a fluorescent bulb away directly is not allowed since mercury inside it is a hazardous substance. Thus, a professional remover will take $.15 to $.45 per foot from you.
  • Latex paint is not safe to be disposed of without special treatment either. Expect to pay $15 a gallon.
  • If you're tired of your old, cumbersome piano, you can bid farewell to it by paying from $50 to $110. The exact amount depends on how difficult it is to remove the piano, as well as on its type.
Based on the truckload (ft.3 - average)
  • Minimum 60 ft.3 - $110
  • 60 to 80 ft.3 - $150
  • 80 to 120 ft.3 - $190
  • 120 to 180 ft.3 - $250
  • 180 to 240 ft.3 - $290
  • 240 to 300 ft.3 - $350
  • 300 to 360 ft.3 - $390
  • 360 to 420 ft.3 - $440
  • 420 to 480 ft.3 - $490

Information to check

You know that in any business you will find honest and fraudulent companies and pros. You may be thousand times great at understanding people's nature but you should always take some precautions and, for starters, you should always:

  • Check the information about the garbage removal company you're going to hire on the Internet. Pay special attention to their background, services they provide, prices they ask, and customers' reviews. You may also visit their physical address just in case. This will give you the first impression you can base your opinion on.
  • Always check that the company is insured. It's a guarantee for you.
  • Make the first contact with the company and see how they will respond if the customer support sounds informative and knowledgeable enough and if you may get your approximate estimate right on the spot. Remember that you've checked the prices before calling? Now compare the rough estimate you've got with the prices on the website and decide if everything does look trustworthy and reliable.
  • Check BBB and see if there any reviews about the company you're going to hire for the garbage removal services.

Other frequently asked questions

Can I dispose of my garbage on my own?

Yes, this is one of the ways to reduce the garbage removal bill. Many people who live in the vicinity of a landfill prefer taking their own garbage there themselves. How much it costs varies from state to state and neighborhood to neighborhood, but on average this method of trash disposal helps homeowners save up to $160 every month. Normally, landfills charge by the weight – around $20 per pound.

How can I save on my garbage removal bill?

To reduce the figure in your bill, you can do the following:

  • Research the local market for a company that charges less for its services.
  • Find out if it's possible to take your trash to a landfill on your own.
  • Reconsider what you throw into your trash bin and try not to produce too much garbage.
  • Arrange for the pickup to collect your garbage less often, say twice a week. That way you can cut your expenses up to $50 per year or even more.

What laws regulate garbage removal in the United States?

The prices that private garbage removal contractors set are not subject to federal or state regulations. Certain municipalities may sign contracts with private hauling companies. Then, the latter is obliged to pay wages to drivers and garbage collectors.

Bottom line

Garbage removal cost depends on many factors such as the area, price of fuel, competition, type of garbage, and population density. The typical range is $50-$500.

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