How is a load of loose material Measured?

One of the questions that we are asked at the Landscape recycling center the most is about the measurement of a load of loose material.  We commonly explain that a cubic yard is the volume of a cube with the length, width and height of 3 feet.  "What does that mean"  Hopefully below you find the information that helps explain how material is evaluated in to one cubic yard.   


What is A Cubic Yard?

Mathematically 1 Cubic Yard measurements are 3 feet tall, 3 feet long and 3 feet wide. Material is not simply to measure. To measure your material you must

  1. (L)Take a measurement from one direction, end to end.

  2. (W)Measure from side to side.

  3. (H)Measure the Highest point to the bottom.

  4. Multiply these 3 measurements together and divide the total by 27. ( (L*W*H)/27 )


The amount you get will be the Cubic Yard

1 cubic Yard is equal to 27 cubic feet(depicted in the image). The truck depicted is 8 feet long but the material is only 3 feet wide and 3 feet high. As you can see the material in the truck equals 2.5 Cubic Yards. Most Standard pickup dimensions are: 8' long X 5.33' wide X 1.5' high. Fully loaded level truck beds, will hold 2 cubic yards of material. Unless the material is the height of the cab.


Measure the material not the container.

Many customers have a misunderstanding that the price is per load or per bag. The LRC charges are based on the measurement of the material, not the container it's in. The attendant will measure the materials Length, Width and Height. This amount is divided by 27 to get the Cubic Yard of the material.

Loading Truck bed Cubic Yard and Weight limits

Short Bed Truck

Short bed truck with an inside measurement of: 6' in length, 4.5' wide and 1.5' high walls. This allows a maximum capacity of 1.5 cubic yards. Many of these smaller trucks are limited to a reduced maximum load weight. So heaver material such as Compost, Soil, Millings, Fines is reduce to a lower amount because of this factor.

Mid-size Bed Truck

These truck beds are the full-size truck beds with tool boxes, or the short extended beds or any that falls between the other two. Customers will have to be aware of the limited capacities. Based on the physical limit of space or the reaching the maximum load weight, The attendant will suggest a safe amount but this is only a suggestion. It may be lower then then expected but it is only a safe suggestion.

Full Bed Truck

A full size truck has a bed with the dimensions of: 8' in length, (rounded)5' wide and 1.5' high walls. Trucks with full size beds have more diversity to their maximum and limits. Most trucks have only hold 2 cubic yards based on the measurements. The weight that these trucks can carry will determine how much material it will hold.

Understanding why loads may look the same but the fee is different

One of the biggest misunderstanding is why somethings disposal fees are different each time. Leaves and soil are mostly compacted by there own weight. So there is little to no air space when it is piled up high but brush has a natural branching physiology to it. Most often you can see this air space with in the load so this is taken in consideration when evaluating loads that have brush. Brush that is measured at 4 feet high may seem to be priced similar to leaves or soil that is measured at a lower height. It's best described as the density of the load.