Private Trash Removal is Expensive: Here’s How Frugal Homeowners Reduce the Cost

Have you ever done the math to figure out how much you are paying to have your trash picked up at your curb? Have you ever looked into taking your trash to the town dump yourself? You will be shocked at how much serious money you will save by going to the town dump. Keep reading…

green household trash bins, United States
You'll want to jump in your trash bins and hide once you calculate how much money you pay to have your trash removed by a private sanitation removal service. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The costs of private sanitation pick up: It costs money to have your trash picked up curbside in Fairfield, CT. That service is not included in our high taxes. Every household that hires a private sanitation company to pick up trash every week pays between $40.00 to $42.00 a month for this convenience. That averages out to be about $500.00 a year.

The costs of driving your trash to the town dump: It used to cost $2.00 to enter the Fairfield Solid Waste and Recycling Center, aka the town dump, but today, it is a $5.00 fee. My husband makes the trip to the dump twice a month for $10. TFF’er Aimee visits the dump once a month for $5.00.  We pay $120 a year for trash, and Aimee’s family pays $60 a year for the dump. Let’s look at  this a bit closer….

Comparing costs: You may not think this is such a huge savings…$500 a year for convenience versus $120 a year for diy trash removal. We’ve lived in our house for over 18 years. We’ve never had private sanitation pick up. So, in 18 years, we have spent $2,160.00 (based on $5 a dump run) on trash removal. If we had paid for private pick up, it would have cost $8,748.00. By doing diy trash removal, we saved $6,588.00 over 18 years (and we probably saved more because admission to the dump was not always $5.00). Remember, this is one expense over 18 years. And of course homeowners know there are many, many other expenses that add up. If you are wondering about gas costs, etc., the dump is only a few miles away and my husband typically combines that trip with other errands that need to be done on a Saturday morning.

My husband also reports that the dump is very busy recently–much more so than in the 18 years he’s been going there.  “It’s not all old guys in dirty pick-up trucks, it’s the Land Rovers and Lexus SUVs now coming into the dump, too,” he says. It seems town residents are catching on.

Bringing your trash to the dump yourself versus private pick-up is really a no-brainer if you want to live frugally in an affluent town that does not provide the service through taxes.

Keep watching: We will soon add posts about how single stream recycling (confusing to many, but we will clarify how it works) has reduced our garbage output and thus, reduced the amount of trips to the town dump. More found money.

~Marilyn, TFF


12 thoughts on “Private Trash Removal is Expensive: Here’s How Frugal Homeowners Reduce the Cost

  1. Everything I see is the dump is now a pay pay pay operation. So much per item. (not posted on any website ?)

    My private trash pick-up ceased for non-payment. Why ? My parents died and everything is in probate and I am supposed to pay for months ? They will not even open a new account.

    Blue bin is part of private pick up costs ?

    So please advise ? My former trash cans just take to dump and how to avoid them saying every item costs so and so ??

    Fairfield My email is mtriga at

    1. Hi David, I’m sorry to hear about your parents. Take a look at Single stream to get a better idea. Taking your garbage to the dump yourself is easy and inexpensive, if you don’t mind taking an hour or so out of the day every couple of weeks. And, if you don’t mind actually going to a dump! The Fairfield one near-ish 7-Eleven/police station, etc. We keep our single stream items separate from trash so we go to the recycling center more than the trash area, which reduced our bill. Go there once to get the hang of it. Take your recyclables and some garbage, pay the $5. You will need a permit to enter (so they know you are a resident). Hope this helps. Marilyn

  2. I’m very interested in this idea! Honestly, our trash isn’t even that much, especially now that we are composting, and I’ve always cloth diapered. But, where do you put the trash until you make a dump run? I don’t have a space I can devote to it, I think it would just have to be outside. How do you keep your car from getting dirty from hauling the trash? Thanks!

    1. Hi Amber,
      Aimee should also weigh in on this, because she hauls to the dump in her mini-van. My husband honestly doesn’t care too much how dirty his car gets inside, but he does clean it down every month (or so). (And, I like to spray Febreze once in a while, but it’s really not that bad!) He also has an old blanket that he throws down in the truck on which he places the garbage cans.

      We do store our garbage in three large bins on the side of the house and the recyclables stay in the garage so they don’t get wet (paper). It’s not very neat, but not a total mess, either. My husband built some shelf system out of scrap wood years ago that we hide our recycling bin in. But now with single-stream recycling, we have to make room on that shelf for another bin and paper bags so it’s all contained and not strewn all over the garage. We only have a one-car garage so it can be tight! We don’t put a car into the garage unless it’s a bad winter, and one car gets to stay in there. I hope that helps??

      1. @ Amber – Hooray for cloth-diapering! With composting and our new single stream system, our family of five manages to fill one garbage can every four weeks. We keep it in a corner of our garage. We haul our recycling to the town dump for free about twice a month. One blue bin holds our #1 – 7 plastics, milk cartons, aluminum and glass. Paper bags hold our newspaper, paperboard and mixed paper. Buying in bulk through a food co-op, local farmers, and at the store helps to keep packaging to a minimum. To keep our car “clean” while hauling the trash, I put down an old drop cloth that I keep in the back. Hope this is helpful!
        @ Carol – we also have a town beaches sticker that we pay for annually that includes the cost of unlimited trips to the town dump.

  3. We’ve been in our home for 22 years. Private trash haulers have never been employed as we have always taken our trash over to the town transfer station ourselves. One of the reasons is that we can recycle a lot more of our trash by doing so, as the pvt haulers only take certain items. All paper, food container glass, newspapers, all metal, corregated (sp?) cardboard, florescent bulbs, used car oil, all plastics # 1 thru 7, phone books, old clothes, old RX glasses remain out of the trash stream. We compost kitchen scraps (non meat/dairy/grease). They also accept brush, etc. Our town averages 40% (the CT state goal) for recycling. For a family of 6, we produce very little actual trash.

    We are required to purchase a transfer station sticker for our car $25 (used to be $10) with an additional sticker costing $10 for a second vehicle. (for Sr citizens it’s $10 and $5). Our trash is weighed and we are charged, I believe it’s 20 cents/lb. There are also flat fees for bulk demo.
    $25 fee =$2.08/month
    average charge for trash approx $15/month

    I budget $21/month all inclusive to cover our trash. We have a 3 XL yard waste size trash cans that are stored in a trash “garage” storage shed. It’ll hold approx, 6 drawstring kitchen garbage bags worth of trash. In Winter months, the trash is driven to the trash center about once a month, in warmer months, more frequently to avoid any odors developing.

    Certainly MUCH cheaper than paying someone to do it, and ending up getting less out of the trash stream in the process.

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