How do I Choose the Best Waste Containers?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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There are lots of ways to choose waste containers, also known by the much more common but less elegant name of trash cans. Head to big box stores with a good home section and people are likely to find all kinds that could serve either outside or in various parts of the home. Some sort of judging criteria are helpful in determining which waste containers will best serve needs, and this might include analysis of size, materials, appearance, stability, ease of use and other factors.

Size of waste containers should be determined. Shoppers should ask themselves how much storage they’ll reasonably need, or how often they’ll be able to empty the trash. Similarly available space at home is something to consider.

An extremely large trash can may be useful in keeping a kitchen clean, but will it dwarf the other elements of the kitchen or inhibit free movement through it? Perhaps it’s better to buy a container than can easily fit under a sink and needs to be emptied more frequently. In bathrooms and bedrooms, emphasis is usually on a smaller container but for outdoor garbage disposal a large garbage can may be needed, and in some cities, people have to use a city-issued waste containers instead. When buying the outdoor trash receptacle look for a secure lid to prevent unwelcome animal visitors and weather resistant features.


The composition of waste containers can be decided partly on taste and on functionality. Plastic containers are durable and will protect a floor if wet material gets thrown into them. Many metal looking small cans are plastic lined to prevent rusting. Some people prefer more attractive wicker cans for bathrooms and bedrooms and these can be lined with plastic bags to protect the materials of the can and prevent odor.

On this issue of appearance much can be said. More expensive waste containers can be highly stylized. Many people prefer a lidded can so that disposed of garbage is not seen. Cans may vary in shape too, with some the traditional round, and others in rectangular shapes. A few cans feature a variety of decorative elements too.

Ease of use, though, definitely outweighs appearance. It must be easy to throw trash away or waste containers run the risk of not being used. Those choosing might want to consider how easy it is to carry a container to a larger garbage can for dumping or to edge of the street for pick-up. They should also determine if lids on cans make it easier or more difficult to throw things out, and if general sizes allows for easy disposal of any items, or are too small.

On this topic of ease of use, heavy items may sometime tip over flimsy trash receptacles. The larger the can is, the more its stability becomes a factor. Some people have suggested playing a little basketball with a can to see if it tips, when balls enter or hit it. Alternately, simply place it on a flat surface and look for any obvious defects that might cause easy tipping and messy garbage spills.

Other factors that may be considered in choosing waste containers include how well a container will keep its color, resist stains, and resist odors. Clearly people may want to take home décor into consideration when outfitting bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms with containers too. Cost is another thing to think about. It’s possible to buy fairly expensive garbage cans or ones that are very low-priced. Those purchasing cans will ultimately determine what expense is possible or justified in light of comparing all other criteria.



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