Building a Trash Hauler From Old Parts

Now that I’m stable in my new location, I’ve been considering what I’m paying for - and how I can optimize costs for the next 60 years or so I intend to live here.  One of those things (admittedly small in the face of my current expenses, but a moderate long term expense) is trash service.  I can haul trash to the local dump for $14.50/ton (with a base fee of $5 for up to 620lb).  Toss in the diesel to get there and back, I’m looking at about $10 per quarter (or less) for trash.  My current trash service is $222/yr.  And, honestly, I don’t like hauling the trash can 1/8 mile uphill to the street for pickup.  Plus, I’m lazy about splitting out recyclables, cardboard, and food waste.  So I decided to build myself a trash trailer!

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Comments from Blogger)

2017-10-30 by Richard

Why not pressure treated plywood on your trailer? I have it and it’s over 20 years old. Hope at least you used waterproof glue marine plywood.

2017-10-30 by Russell Graves

I didn’t think of pressure treated, mostly because I didn’t realize that was a thing…

As far as the glue in the plywood, I’m not sure. It’s probably the default that plywood is built with, because I didn’t seek out anything particularly special. But I’ve got the wood well protected and I’m in a dry climate, so I’m not that worried about it. If it fails, I’ll certainly consider rebuilding it with something better!

2017-10-30 by Michael

A device like this could make unloading easier, when it’s loaded full.

2017-10-30 by Russell Graves

It most certainly could! That’s a really good idea - I’ll see if I can find one that fits the bed! Rolling the trash right out would certainly be easier than pulling it out with a rake!

2017-10-30 by Aaron

So I’m just getting a new (well, lightly used) car with a fairly good towing capacity, which my plan is to use for Burning Man and such instead of renting a cargo van. However, I probably still have too much stuff (my stuff, your shit RIP George Carlin) to fit in the station wagon (Volvo V60 CC), so a small trailer is needed.

So I was thinking perhaps a Harbor Freight 4x6 or 4x8 utility trailer build. Of course, I’d need to put more money and effort into building up the flooring & sides. Any ideas for a small, but fully assembled trailer? I don’t happen to have access to decades of rural hoarding :wink:

2017-10-30 by Russell Graves

Unfortunately, no. The Harbor Fright units aren’t that bad to outfit - they come with 2x4 holders for the sides, but they’re not exactly “good.” That said, for hauling to Burning Man, which is a wonderfully corrosive atmosphere, it’s probably fine. Just make sure your wheel bearing covers are tight.