Save Money By Taking Out Your Own Trash

taking out your trash, save money, garbage disposal

I hate my garbage company. I’m sure they’re no different than any of the other refuse disposal companies in my area, but I still hate them. They advertise a low monthly rate, but then tack on extra for the required recycling service, more taxes and fees than than you could play spin the bottle with, oh and then there’s that fuel surcharge.

As gas prices started to climb over the last decade, they notified customers of the addition of a fuel surcharge. When gas prices go up, the surcharge increases. If gas prices go down, so does the surcharge. Sounds good in theory, except the surcharge is calculated using the national average, which is almost always higher than where I live. Also, the price of gasoline would have to drop to 87 cents a gallon for there to be no surcharge. I would bet money we’ll never see gas at 87 cents a gallon again. I just accepted my waste disposal bill for what it was, as garbage pickup is a necessary evil. I pay my $140 every three months, even though I don’t like it.

I accepted it until yesterday, when a thought occurred to me that turned the proverbial garbage can upside down.

We had a large party over the weekend, with a lot of extra trash. Seven 55 gallon bags worth actually. Our waste disposal company would likely charge us an arm and a leg for that much extra trash, so I decided to take care of it myself. I laid down a tarp in the back of my van (seats folded down), loaded the bags and took them to the city incinerator where they charged me $5 a bag to dispose of them.

Taking seven 55 gallon bags of trash to the incinerator cost me a total of $35.

My weekly waste disposal service is for a 60 gallon can, roughly one of the 55 gallon bags. In theory, I took 7 weeks of trash to the incinerator. Even if we say that a three month period has 14 weeks, that means that taking the garbage to the incinerator myself would cost me $70 for three months.

Disposing of my own trash would cut my bill in half.

There are a couple of drawbacks, however:

  • Time : Instead of just pushing my bins out to the curb I have to bring the bags to the drop off area myself. I drive by it every day on my way to work, so it wouldn’t be that big of a time hit.
  • Smell : Having bags of trash in my van left a funky smell. It did subside after driving home with the windows open. I would hope that it wouldn’t become permanent if  I did it often.
  • Garbage Pile: The garbage in my house is in small bins and bags. These bins and bags would have to be consolidated into the larger 55 gallon bags, and then they would be stored on the side of my garage until I decided to take it to the dump. Bags of trash isn’t exactly the kind of thing you want piling up on the side of your house.

None of these are insurmountable, but are they worth saving $70 over three months? Or am I just anxious to stick it to my waste disposal company?

Would you take your own trash to the dump or incinerator to save money?


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About the author

Brock Kernin


  • Our service is done through the city and all homeowners must participate. Before they put that in place, everybody had to contract their own company and it cost over double the price as it does today. It sounds like that’s what you’re dealing with, and I can definitely understand that frustration.

  • Like Money Beagle, I am required to purchase garbage pickup even though I generate very little garbage on my own. My bill is the same as yours even though they pass my house most days without having to pick up a thing. If I could save, I would, trust me.

  • @MoneyBeagle – Huh, everyone MUST participate? Yikes….but at least the cost came down I guess. I’ve never heard of that though. Thanks for sharing!

  • @Doug – they don’t even have smaller service sizes? Seems like they should at least offer different size bins for different prices….Wierd – thanks for stopping by!

  • I’ve never had to deal with a garbage bill. Thank goodness, it’s included in our property taxes. On the other hand, I do see the benefit of having it be a separate bill so you can: 1. See the true costs that are incurred by your own wastefulness, and 2. Decide to pay it or do it yourself.

    This makes me I wonder what part of my taxes goes to garbage and recycling pickup, but it doesn’t look like there’s any way to find out.

  • @Norm – Having it included is certainly convenient….but like Money Beagle that would seem to imply it’s either a flat fee for everyone, OR it’s based upon the value of your property. In either case that would make me a bit uncomfortable because I don’t have any control over it. Then again, it IS convenient. LOL.

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