How Much Does My Trash Weigh?

By Andrea Davis on February 7, 2024

Have you ever gone to toss a bag into your cart only to wonder, “How heavy is this thing?” Then you start to sweat as you wonder if your cart will be over the weight limit.

Weight limits for bags and carts are an important part of your collection guidelines. Bags can get pretty heavy, which means your cart gets even heavier. To understand what happens when trash gets heavy, and why weight limits are important, visit our blog here.

Of course, we understand that it might be difficult to know how much weight you’re putting into your cart every week, so we hope this post will help. Here are methods for determining if your bag or cart is overweight.

Weigh it!

While it may seem obvious, using a scale your bags is the most accurate way to see how much weight you have in your bags. There are two simple ways to get your measurement:

  1. Use a bathroom scale

With your full bag in hand, step on the scale and record the weight. Then, step on the scale again without the bag. Subtract the second total from the first and you’ll have your bag’s exact weight.

  1. Use a fishing/luggage scale

Secure the garbage bag to the hook using a clamp or another tool to prevent tearing. Lift the scale and bag from the ground and hold steady. After a few seconds, you’ll have the number.

While scales will give you an accurate number, it might not always be possible to weigh every bag before placing it in your cart. Read on for some other ways to determine how heavy your bag is.

Compare it!

Thankfully, our houses have many items that are similar to the weight your bags and carts should be. If you find yourself in a bind, compare the weight of your full bag or cart to some of the items listed below. This method can be extremely helpful, but it’s important to remember that it can’t be as accurate as using a scale.

Granger’s weight limit for a cart is 200 pounds. That is about the weight of any one of the following:

  • A typical refrigerator
  • Some washing machines
  • Two bloodhounds
  • A full grown great dane or mastiff
  • A manhole cover
  • A small futon

The weight limit for bags is 30 pounds, or 30 gallons. That is about the weight of any one of the following:

  • A heavy-duty stroller
  • A portable generator
  • An average 3-year-old
  • The average high schooler’s backpack
  • A 50-inch TV
  • Two vacuums
  • A midsize microwave


(Estimate it!)

This is probably the least accurate way to tell the weight of your trash, but it can work in a pinch.

There are a couple of different ways to estimate how much your bags or cart will weigh. The first is looking at your household’s size. For example, families with two adults and one child produce an average of 12-15 pounds every day, or 84-105 pounds a week.

The second way to estimate the weight is looking at your bag capacity. Consider this:

  • 10-gallon bags typically hold about 10 pounds
  • 13-gallon bags typically hold about 15 pounds
  • 30 or 33-gallon bags typically hold about 45 to 50 pounds


Now, you can ditch the nervous sweat and uncertainty. With your newfound expertise, you no longer have to play a guessing game when collection day rolls around.