Volume-to-Weight Conversion Table | Region 10 | US EPA

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Volume-to-Weight Conversion Table

(The following Appendix is an excerpt from the EPA document, Business Guide for Reducing Solid Waste; EPA/530-K-92-004; November 1993. Sources follow the table as in the original Appendix.)

Appendix D

Conversion Table

The volume-to-weight conversion table presented on the following pages is a compilation of several sources. Materials converted from volume to weight include paper (high-grade and other), glass, plastic, metals, organics, and other materials (e.g., tires and oil).

It is important to note that although the weight (density) figures presented here are useful for determining rough estimates, they will not be as useful when precise measurements are required. Differences in the way a material is handled, processed, or in the amount of moisture present can make substantial differences in the amount a particular material weighs per specified volume. Because of these differences, it will be important to actually sort and weigh materials in your program whenever precise measurements are needed (e.g., recycling contract agreements).

Category Material
u/c = uncompacted/
compacted & baled
Volume Estimated
(in pounds)
High-Grade PaperComputer Paper:
Uncompacted, stacked1 cu. yd.655
Compacted / baled1 cu. yd.1,310
1 case2800 sheets42
White Ledger:
(u)stacked / (c)stacked1 cu. yd.375-465 / 755-925
(u)crumpled / (c)crumpled1 cu. yd.110-205 / 325
Ream of 20# bond; 8-1/2 x 111 ream = 500 sheets5
Ream of 20# bond; 8-1/2 x 111 ream = 500 sheets6.4
White ledger pads1 case = 72 pads38
Tab Cards:
Uncompacted1 cu. yd.605
Compacted / baled1 cu. yd.1,215-1,350
u/c = uncompacted/
compacted & baled
Volume Estimated
(in pounds)
Other PaperCardboard (Corrugated):
Uncompacted1 cu. yd.50-150
Compacted1 cu. yd.300-500
Baled1 cu. yd.700-1,100
Uncompacted1 cu. yd.360-505
Compacted1 cu. yd.720-1,000
12" stack--35
Miscellaneous Paper:
Yellow legal pads1 case = 72 pads38
Colored message pads1 carton = 144 pads22
Self-carbon forms; 8-1/2 x 111 ream = 500 sheets50
Mixed Ledger/Office Paper:
Flat (u/c)1 cu. yd.380 / 755
Crumpled (u/c)1 cu. yd.110-205 / 610
GlassRefillable Whole Bottles:
Refillable beer bottles1 case = 24 bottles14
Refillable soft drink bottles1 case = 24 bottles22
8 oz. glass container1 case = 24 bottles12
Whole1 cu. yd.500-700
Semi-crushed1 cu. yd.1,000-1,800
Crushed (mechanically)1 cu. yd.1,800-2,700
Uncrushed to manually broken55-gallon drum300
u/c = uncompacted/
compacted & baled
Volume Estimated
(in pounds)
PlasticPET (Soda Bottles):
Whole bottles, uncompacted1 cu. yd.30-40
Whole bottles, compacted1 cu. yd.515
Whole bottles, uncompactedgaylord40-53
Baled30" x 62500-550
8 bottles (2-liter size)--1
HDPE (Dairy):
Whole, uncompacted1 cu. yd.24
Whole, compacted1 cu. yd.270
Baled32" x 60"400-500
HDPE (Mixed):
Baled32" x 60"900
Odd Plastic:
Uncompacted1 cu. yd.50
Compacted / baled1 cu. yd.400-700
Mixed PET & HDPE (Dairy):
Whole, uncompacted1 cu. yd.32
MetalsAluminum (Cans):
Whole1 cu. yd.50-75
Compacted (manually)1 cu. yd.250-430
Uncompacted1 full grocery bag
1 case = 24 cans
Ferrous (tin-coated steel cans):
Whole1 cu. yd.150
Flattened1 cu. yd.850
Whole1 case = 6 cans22
Category Material
u/c = uncompacted/
compacted & baled
Volume Estimated
(in pounds)
OrganicsYard trimmings*:
Leaves (uncompacted)1 cu. yd.200-250
Leaves (compacted)1 cu. yd.300-450
Leaves, vacuumed1 cu. yd.350
Grass clippings (uncompacted)1 cu. yd.350-450
Grass clippings (compacted)1 cu. yd.550-1,500
Finished compost1 cu. yd.600
Scrap Wood:
Pallets--30-100 (40 avg.)
Wood chips1 cu. yd.500
Food Waste:
Solid / liquid fats55-gallon drum400-410
Other MaterialsTires:
Car1 tire12-20
Truck1 tire60-100
Oil (Used Motor Oil)1 gallon7

*Density of yard trimmings is highly variable depending on moisture content.

Conversion Table Sources

Brown University Summer Internship Program, Guide for Preparing Commercial Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling Plans, prepared for Ocean State Cleanup and Recycling (OSCAR), Providence, Rhode Island, 1988.

Draft National Recycling Coalition Measurement Standards and Reporting Guidelines presented to NRC membership, October 31, 1989.

Fenedick, Al Jr., Kimberly Henderson, and Jay Birgamini, Office Recycling Handbook, Region 5, USEPA and General Services Administration, 1990.

Hunt, Robert, Franklin Associates, personal communication, April 18, 1991.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Recycling. Steps in Organizing a Municipal Recycling Program, 1988.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Recycling: A Planning Guide for Communities, Division of Solid Waste, January 1990.

Reynolds, John, Business Waste Reduction Audit Handbook, Spokane Regional Council, Spokane, Washington, February 1989.

R.W. Beck and Associates, Commercial Waste Reduction Audit Manual, prepared for the City of Seattle Solid Waste Utility Under the Environmental Allowance Program, January 1989.

Scheinberg, Anne and Dee Cotherman, Business Recycling Manual, prepared for Westchester County Association, Inc., White Plains, New York, November 1989.

Conversion factors are adapted from Information In: “Recycling Is Everybody's Business”, Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, April 1989 and “Recycling Manual: Oneida and Herkimer Counties Solid Waste Management Project”, William F. Cosulich Associates, 1988.

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