There are several legal and potentially free ways to get rid of unwanted dirt after a yard or landscaping project. There are also online services that can connect you with people and companies near you that are willing to take your dirt. But, before you get ready to haul your dirt off, be sure to check for local regulatory laws on dumping dirt.
Individual states, counties, and even cities may have different regulatory laws when it comes to dumping dirt. You’ll need to contact your local city office to see which rules apply to you and your specific type of dirt (also known as “fill”). For example, in some locations, you’ll need a permit to dump dirt.
Keep in mind that if your dirt contains things like asbestos, physical contaminants (i.e., glass, plastics, or metal), or hazardous materials of any kind, such as pesticides, human waste, etc., you may need to contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for guidance. The EPA regulates the disposal of hazardous material, and if you dispose of it illegally, you could be subject to heavy fines and up to seven years in prison.
What We Recommend
For the most convenient dirt dumping options, as well as the highest chance of finding ways to do it for free, you’ll likely want to contact a local landscaping or construction company. These companies aren’t primarily in the dirt recycling business, so they are not necessarily looking to make money off of people who need to get rid of some dirt. There are local companies like this in most regions of the U.S., and they are also the most likely to work with you in terms of scheduling a drop-off.
Another good option is to use an online service like Clean-Fill-Wanted.com to connect you with individuals or companies looking for different types of dirt. These companies charge a small fee for their services — letting you list your dirt and contact potential takers — but they operate nationwide, so you can likely find a place near you where you can take your dirt.
Below, we list the places where you can dump dirt — some of which are free, while others require registration or a fee. A few of the dirt disposal companies listed are removal services that actually pick up yard waste, and it is worth noting that while this is likely the most convenient option, it will be the most costly. We’ve ordered the list starting with the best overall options.
Landscaping and Construction Companies
If you’re looking to get rid of some dirt for free, a good option is to find a local landscaping company or mulch supplier that may be willing to accept it. You can start with a Google search for “landscaping companies near me” and contact an organization to find out if it accepts dirt and what the process entails.
Some local recycling companies also accept dirt as a form of construction and demolition (or “C&D”) waste. The Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA) actually provides a facility locator to help you find such companies in your area.
Similarly, some construction sites might also be willing to accept dirt for free. In this case, you can search online for local construction companies or drive around to building sites and ask the foreman if they need the fill. This option is dependent on each location, so make sure you contact the company for details.
Dirt Disposal Companies
The following companies provide sites to dispose of dirt, connect you with local dirt disposal sites, or pick up unwanted dirt. Fees vary, and keep in mind that not every company will accept all kinds of dirt.
- Locations: Nationwide; you must sign up to view the whole map
- Accepted types of dirt: Clean fill — dirt that’s acceptable for construction, landscaping, and leveling
- Other restrictions: None specified
- Cost: Subscriptions start at $9 per month or $69.99 per year to list fill
- More info: Clean-Fill-Wanted.com lets you check for free to see if there are dirt-wanted sites in your area (you only need a subscription to list fill).
- Find out more or sign up
- Locations: Most states, excluding for Arkansas, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming
- Accepted types of dirt: All types
- Other restrictions: None specified
- Cost: For a free estimate, call (888) 888-JUNK
- More info: Junk King is a removal service, and it will take away anything except hazardous waste.
- Find out more or book a removal online
- Locations: Nationwide
- Accepted types of dirt: Construction and demolition recycling, which includes landscaping materials
- Other restrictions: The program may not be suited for individuals; other restrictions vary by location.
- Cost: Waste Management will help you develop a recycling program; costs vary.
- More info: To get started, you’ll need to Request New Service and detail your needs. A Waste Management expert will contact you with an individualized plan.
- Find out more or request service
DirtGeo (formerly Dirt Monkey)
- Locations: Nationwide; you must sign up to view the whole map of companies offering and requesting dirt
- Accepted types of dirt: All types, depending on need
- Other restrictions: You must be a construction, excavating, or landscaping company trying to get rid of dirt; the site isn’t for individuals with extra dirt.
- Cost: There are no membership or registration fees.
- More info: DirtGeo connects people with dirt to people who need dirt. You’ll need to list how much dirt you have, the type of fill, your location, and your contact information, and someone will contact you directly if they want your dirt. To get started
- Find out more or sign up
- Locations: Pacific Northwestern U.S.
- Accepted types of dirt: Dry, uncontaminated soil
- Other restrictions: Varies by location
- Cost: Recycling fees vary by location; pickup fees range from $150 to $250.
- More info: Pacific Topsoils recycles any type of yard waste.
- Find out more or arrange service
Other Ways to Get Rid of Dirt
If you’re having a hard time getting rid of your dirt, there are a few other things you can try, including:
- Contacting your local waste management company: Some waste management companies will haul your dirt for free or for a fee.
- Using your dirt for another yard project: Consider a garden, raised garden beds, leveling out a slope, etc.
- Advertising your dirt online: Post your dirt on Craigslist or Freecycle. You can also try posting on a local Facebook buy/sell/trade group.
- Using your local network: Ask neighbors or nearby gardeners and/or farmers if they would like to take some extra dirt off your hands.
For convenient and cost-effective options, consider reaching out to a local landscaping or construction company. These companies can recycle your unwanted dirt, and they are more likely to let you dump your first for free. Alternatively, if you’re willing to pay a small fee to use an online peer-to-peer service, you can sign up for Clean-Fill-Wanted.com. These online services can connect you with individuals or companies across the nation who are looking for fill. If all else fails, consider repurposing your dirt for another yard project or offering it to a neighbor or nearby farmer.