California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Construction/Demolition and Inert Debris Tools and Resources


Solid Waste Cleanup Program Weights and Volumes for Project Estimates
Description of Materials Approximate Pounds/Cubic Yard Remarks
Burn Dump Debris/Ash 800-1000
Dry Loose
Wet for Dust Suppression
Wet mixed with soil
Construction Debris, Asphalt or Concrete: Loose 2400  
Construction Debris, Wood ; Uncompacted 400 Increase up to 100% if compacted using heavy equipment
Earth 2100
Loose/Dry. Plus 30% when compacted.
Gravel or Crushed Stone Loose/Dry 2600 Increase 20% if wet
Household Trash 800  
Liquid Waste 1600 202 gal./cubic yard ~ 7 Lbs./Gal.
E.g. Antifreeze, Waste Oil, Solvent
Metals, Un-compacted 600 e.g. Appliances, Metal Siding
Sand, Loose/Dry 2400 Increase 20% if damp and 30% if wet/compacted
Stone, Graded 8” max. Loose 2700 e.g. Gabion Construction. Increase 10% consolidated in place
Tire Burn Ash 500-800  
Tires, Auto and Pickup 220 Average 10 tires per cubic yard
Tires, OTR See Remarks Average 500 pounds per tire
Tires, Truck 480 Average 4 tires per cubic yard
Vehicles, Auto and Pickup See Remarks Use 3000 Pounds/Vehicle
Wood Chips, Shredded/Dry Wood Chips/Bark w/30% Soil 300
Yard Waste (Vegetation) Loose 600  

Determination of Weights and Volumes of Onsite Materials


Pile volume can best be estimated by determining the area of the base and then multiplying by the average height of the pile. In many cases the base of a pile will resemble a rectangle where area is length times width (L x W). In other cases the pile may more closely resemble a triangle or other polygon. Use the appropriate geometry to calculate the base area. For average height, this usually must be estimated since often it is not prudent to climb a pile to get more exact height measurements. The height may be estimated by using a known reference (e.g., fellow inspector) for reference. Cubic yards can be determined by dividing cubic feet by 27. Depending upon the accuracy of the assumed measurements, the estimated volume could be within 10-15 percent of the actual volume.


The weight (tonnage) of a pile is determined by multiplying the volume by the density. CalRecycle’s Solid Waste Cleanup Program has developed approximate pounds per cubic yard (lbs/cu yd) estimates for various materials. The actual density depends on the homogeneous nature (uniformity) of the pile in both void space and material type. Unless the entire pile can be visualized, it will be difficult to determine an accurate tonnage estimate. Please note that density values in the table are general (rough) estimates only and the actual density could be up to (or exceed) a factor of three (either larger or smaller) depending upon the actual density of the material.

Determination of maximum weights and volumes that can be received:

Tons permitted to be received per day x 30 days = Maximum amount on site at any one time

Helpful formulas:

___ feet high X ___ feet wide X ___ feet long = ___ cubic feet/27 cubic feet per cubic yard = ___ cubic yards

___ cubic yards X 27 cubic feet per cubic yard = ___ cubic feet = height X width X length


The pile is 20 feet high X 40 feet wide X 253.1 feet long. This equates to about 202,479 cubic feet/27 cubic feet per cubic yard = approximately 7500 cubic yards.

___ cubic yards X ___ pounds per cubic yard (waste conversion factor) = ____ pounds/2000 pounds per ton = ____ tons

___ tons X 2000 pounds per ton/pounds per cubic yard = ___ cubic yards X 27 cubic feet per cubic yard = height X width X length


7500 cubic yards of wood X 400 pounds per yard (unchipped wood debris) = 3,000,000 pounds/2000 pounds per ton = 1500 tons

Last updated: January 23, 2004
Melissa Hoover-Hartwick: (916) 341-6813