Product Review: Demo Bags

25 Jan

Having done a whole lot of demolition and construction at this point in our various renovations, we have become quite adept at getting rid of the junk that is a byproduct (or direct product) of the process. Some people use dumpsters. Dumpsters are great because they drop off a giant metal box at your house, and when you’re done filling it up they take it away. The downside is the cost. They can be pretty expensive due to their full service nature, plus you have a giant metal dumpster taking up valuable parking space. And as an added minus, people like to help themselves to your dumpster, whether it’s dumping their own stuff or seeing if you threw anything away that they want. We had one at work once, and it was like a bottomless pit because people kept emptying it of stuff they wanted.

Recently there has been an advance on the DIY dumpster front. It’s for small jobs and is offered through retail channels by Waste Management. It is basically a giant bag made of heavy tarp material you buy at the store for $30, then you call WM when it’s full and they pick it up.

The Bagster

This is a more economical and less intrusive way than a full metal dumpster, but it is still more expensive than the method we use…

Dumping it over the neighbor’s fence!

OK, no we don’t do that, although at times we’ve wanted to! (he’d probably burn it gladly)

Our real method is only possible for a few reasons:

1. I have a heavy duty pickup truck.

2. I’m huge.

3. We are about 5 minutes away from a waste transfer station.

4. We bought a box of Demo Bags.

Load of Demo Bags in the basement

Which brings us back to the title of this post.

Demo Bags are heavy duty garbage bags, which, like the bagster, are made of a tarp-like, woven material. This makes them much much tougher than even the heaviest duty of garbage bags. The woven material means that even if a nail or something pokes through, the damage will be limited to that spot, whereas a traditional bag would be ripped and start dumping its contents on the floor.

The first couple demo bags we used as garbage bags, filled them up and threw them out. Then one day, I was filling a bunch of bags up to go the dump and I was laughing to myself about how the bags say “reusable” on them. I was like “Haha, reusable, what are you gonna do? Fill them up, bring them to the dump, dump ’em out, and then fold them up and bring them back to use again? Oh, wait! I CAN do that!” That’s really how it happened, I never intended to reuse them, and now I have used them about 5 times so far.

At this point we have removed approximately 2 tons (literally, 4,000 pounds) of junk and building materials from the basement. My normal process involves filling the bags with about 60 pounds of junk, then lugging them upstairs and out the front door in to the back of the pickup. My first time I probably put a good 100 or so pounds in each bag and it was murder to get them up the stairs and through the house, so I’ve reduced the amount I put in each knowing I will be reusing the bags anyway. The larger and longer stuff I put directly out one of the basement windows on the side of the house and pull the truck around to fill it up.

Pickup with about a half ton of Demo Bags full of debris

As a price comparison to the Bagster, the Bagster can fit a maximum of 3,000 pounds. (I don’t know what they do if you put more.) The price I was quoted in our area was $200 plus tax (plus the bag fee) so about $250 for 3,000 pounds, or as much as you put if it’s less.

We pay about $50 for every 1,000 pounds, so that’d be about $150 for the same 3,000 pounds if we used the Bagster.

Now obviously this requires you having the right equipment and going through the effort of going to the dump and unloading the truck, so you’re handling everything one more time, but for us it is a viable option and we’re not at the mercy of someone else’s schedule.

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