Roll-Off vs. Front Load Dumpsters: What’s the Difference?

//Roll-Off vs. Front Load Dumpsters: What’s the Difference?

Roll-Off vs. Front Load Dumpsters: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to waste disposal containers, the type of dumpster you use matters. Dumpsters vary by size, shape, capacity, rental period, and price—among other factors. From short-term construction projects to long-term waste management strategies, you need to know which type of dumpster is the right fit for you.  

In this guide, our team of waste service professionals explains the difference between the two major types of dumpsters: roll-off dumpsters and front load dumpsters. Shown in the chart below, our team identifies the biggest factors you should consider when evaluating dumpster rentals. 


What do they look like? 


Roll-Off vs. Front Load Dumpsters


Common Uses

Roll-Off Dumpster: Roll-off dumpsters are often utilized for short-term waste disposal projects like construction, landscaping, heavy debris, and other large-scale waste projects. They can also be used long-term at industrial parks for permanent waste management for items that aren’t compacted. They are sometimes called “open top dumpsters” or “construction dumpsters.” Roll-off dumpsters can also be used with compactors at residential sites such as apartment complexes, which are another longer-term usage.

Front Load Dumpster: Front load dumpsters are most often utilized for long-term waste management. These are the most commonplace dumpsters, and can often be found outside restaurants, schools, hotels, apartment complexes, shopping centers, stores, and other businesses. They are sometimes located behind small fences or gates to prevent public dumping. Front load dumpsters are primarily used for commercial purposes. 



Roll-Off Dumpster: Long, rectangular dumpster with an open top; has small wheels on one side for truck loading; made from solid heavy gauge steel.

Front Load Dumpster: Smaller dumpster with a polyethylene lid for trash disposal; has fork pockets or brackets on each side for truck lifting and loading.



Roll-Off Dumpster: Significantly larger. As measured in cubic yards, the most common sizes for roll-off dumpsters used by AWS are 20 and 30 cubic yards.

Front Load Dumpster: Much smaller. As measured in cubic yards, the most common sizes for front load dumpsters are 2, 4, 6, and 8 cubic yards.



Roll-Off Dumpster: Pricing for roll-off dumpster varies based on several factors: dumpster size, rental period, debris type, and drop-off/pickup location. 

Front Load Dumpster: Pricing for front load dumpsters is usually based on a long-term contract. Pricing largely depends on the frequency of trash pickups. 


Rental Period

Roll-Off Dumpster: Roll-off dumpsters can be rented for short-term periods or long-term, multi-year periods. 

Front Load Dumpster: Front load dumpsters are long-term waste management containers that are used on-site for multi-year periods. 


Disposal and Truck Loading

Roll-Off Dumpster: As the name suggests, roll-off dumpsters can be rolled directly onto and off of loading trucks. These dumpsters are delivered to the specific construction site or loading site.  

Front Load Dumpster: Front load dumpsters are lifted by specialized waste management trucks, which dump the contents into the truck, and then leave the dumpster in place. 


Other Specifications

Roll-Off Dumpster: There are two special considerations associated with roll-off dumpsters: (1) they have a large swinging door that allows easy entry and access; and (2) they do not provide a watertight seal.

Front Load Dumpster: Though smaller, front load dumpsters offer greater protection against pests and odors. In most cases, they are also watertight and do not leak. 


Disposal Restrictions

In both cases, the types of wastes that you can and cannot place in the dumpster may vary based on the disposal regulations in your area. Check with a waste management specialist to verify the disposal restrictions and hazardous waste regulations that affect you.

Industry-Specific Waste Disposal Services

While there are basic differences between roll-off and front load dumpsters, every business has unique challenges and considerations when it comes to waste management. For industry-specific recommendations, commercial waste services may vary in the following industries:

  • Manufacturing & Distribution Waste Services: From packaging wastes to recycled materials, manufacturing facilities need efficient waste management solutions to save time and streamline operations. To optimize your waste management strategy, AWS will consider your facility’s manufacturing capacity, type of waste byproducts, and pickup frequency. Most manufacturing and distribution facilities have multiple roll-off dumpsters on site.  
  • Retail Waste Services: Shopping centers and other retail businesses dispose of thousands of pounds of waste each week. To maximize the customer experience, discarded materials must be properly stored and regularly transported. The team at AWS will help you customize a retail waste strategy that best fits your needs. While most retail outlets utilize front load dumpsters, a roll-off dumpster may be appropriate for short-term waste needs like inventory clean-outs and remodeling.
  • Restaurant & Grocery Waste Services: Spoiled food products, leftover food scraps, and kitchen wastes make up a large portion of wastes generated by food service establishments. Containing this large volume of wastes is no easy task, as it requires frequent cleaning, evaluation, and transportation. Restaurants and grocery stores often use multiple front load dumpsters in the back of their facilities. Planning an optimal pick-up schedule is essential part of preventing odor and backups. 
  • Office Waste Services: Every year, office workers throw away significant amounts of paper waste and office supplies. Due to the nature of office waste, this type of waste does not usually require servicing as frequently as other industries. Many office complexes and office buildings share multiple front load dumpsters. 
  • Healthcare Waste Services: Understanding how to process and safely store medical wastes is one of the biggest challenges in the waste management industry. There are numerous regulations and internal protocols to ensure that healthcare waste is properly managed. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for healthcare waste, and hospitals and medical centers usually operate multiple waste management systems at once, including both front load and roll-off dumpsters. 
  • Construction & Demolition Waste Services:  Residential and commercial construction projects result in thousands of pounds of non-hazardous waste disposal, including concrete, glass, wood, brick, sand, asphalt, nails, shingles, roofing components, drywall, and plastics. To store and dispose of several tons of this material, roll-off dumpsters are the most common waste management containers for builders and contractors. 
  • Property Management Waste Services: Apartment complexes and other multifamily units must provide adequate waste management services for their residents. Property management companies use a number of waste disposal systems to manage their facilities, like trash compactors, recycling containers, and roll-off dumpsters. 

Contact Alternative Waste Solutions (AWS) Today

For hundreds of businesses in the Metro Atlanta area, Alternative Waste Solutions offers prompt, reliable and professionally managed commercial waste services. Whether you’re looking for a front load dumpster or roll-off dumpster, our team of waste management experts can help you get the services you need. Call (678) 401-6887 or contact us to schedule your next waste pickup or drop off. 


By | 2021-01-29T23:05:36+00:00 January 18th, 2021|Dumpster Guide|0 Comments

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