Recycling Bin Guide

Trash can and recycling bin features


Home Recycling Bins Recycling Bin Guide

By 10 December 2020 Shares

Useful features for a convenient trash can

Besides the size, compartments and lid mechanisms there are a few other features to consider when buying a new recycling bin. On this page we tell you all about these trash can features, such as soft closing lids, fingerprint coatings and removable inner buckets.

Table of contents:

What material?

Most trash cans and recycling bins come in the materials: plastic or metal (often stainless steel). But you can also get a trash can made of wood or leather. But because most people will get a plastic or metal bin, we talk about that a little bit more below:


Plastic trash cans

A plastic trash can is a relatively cheap garbage can when you compare it with a stainless steel variant. Other than the price, a plastic trash can is lightweight and pretty easy to clean. It is 100% dent-proof, but it is possible to crack or break the bin’s plastic. When getting a plastic trash can, the hinge, which connects the lid with the bin, is durable and won’t break after some (heavy) usage.

A trash can made of plastic is excellent to use in the restroom, bathroom, bedroom, or your home office. We recommend more durable and stable trash can make of strong metal for heavy-duty kitchen usage. These tend to last longer.

Metal trash can with plastic lid

When you consider a more luxury waste bucket, you probably end up with a metal trash can. Most of these metal trash cans are made of stainless steel. This steel isn’t vulnerable to water so that it won’t corrode or rust.

Some of these metal bins have a metal bin but a lid made of plastic. This makes the container a little bit more price friendly. A plastic lid is often used with manual trash cans to use your hands to open the lid. Plastic won’t get finger smudges that easily. A plastic lid can also be found on automatic motion sensor bins. These bins have a motor that opens and closes the cover, and a lightweight plastic lid is easier to handle for the motor than a top made of heavier stainless steel.

Metal trash cans made of stainless steel


A recycling bin made of stainless steel looks very nice. Especially when you place it in the kitchen where it matches other stainless steel kitchen appliances. Stainless steel is a durable material, which is very useful for a trash can that will be used every day by you and your family. Not every metal trash can is evenly durable because there are differences in quality. This depends on the type of brand.

A metal trash can is recommended when looking for a heavy-duty step-on trash can with a foot pedal. The foot pedal must be made of strong steel, so it can handle heavy use by your family day in and day out without breaking.

A stainless steel trash can is recommended when you place the bin in a humid room like a bathroom. Because it is ‘stainless,’ it isn’t susceptible to water stains. And stainless steel is a material that won’t rust. Besides that, a stainless steel trash can is also great to use in the kitchen.


The disadvantage of stainless steel trash cans is that they are relatively expensive. And it might not be your taste. Besides that, a metal bin can get scratched or might get a dent.

Most of the metal bins made of stainless steel have a silver brushed metal look. But you can also get stainless steel recycling bins and trash cans in other colors, such as this beautiful rose gold step-on trash can by Simplehuman. This trash can is a recycling bin with double compartments. So you can use one for trash and the other for collecting recyclables.

Check Dual trash cans

Fingerprint coating

fingerprint-proof-coating-trash-canDo you like the look of a stainless steel trash can with fingerprints and smudges all over it? If not, then a fingerprint-resistant bin is what you want. Especially when you’re looking for a recycling bin with a manual lid, you need to touch the top every time you want to open it.

To prevent fingerprints on the bin, you need to look for a stainless steel trash can treated with a special fingerprint-proof coating. This coating ensures that the usual fingerprints won’t show up on the material. Though, when you touch the bin or the lid with visible dirty hands, it will also be visible on the bin, of course.

Another advantage of the fingerprint coating is that the bin is easier to clean. There lays a thin layer on the stainless steel, so it protects the metal also a bit.

Shape of the bin

The overall shape of the bin isn’t only a taste preference. It also has a practical use. First off, what kind of shapes are there to choose from:

  • Square shaped
  • Rectangular shaped
  • Round shaped
  • Oval shaped
  • Half-round shaped


A round-shaped bin might look great in your bathroom. But maybe a square-shaped bin is easier to fit in a tight spot. So the bin’s shape-type might be very useful to fit the bin in a corner or squeeze it between a cabinet and a wall.

When you want a dual recycling bin with two compartments, we recommend a square or rectangular-shaped trash can because around a trash can with two (half) buckets is less convenient to throw away your trash because there is less space for the bucket.

Besides a square or round shaped recycling or trash bin, you can also choose a tall, short, slim, or wide sized container. All these shapes and forms are especially convenient when available space is an issue, so you want to place the bin in a tight spot.

Soft closing or silent closing lid

trash-can-soft-closing-lid-silentA soft-closing lid is a neat feature that is not an essential requirement but makes a trash can or recycling bin more convenient and fun to use. When you open the bin and throw your trash or recycling away, you can walk away, and the lid will shut down very smoothly and (even more important) in a silent way. So no loud banging or slamming lids anymore. Which makes the garbage can more discrete to use in the bathroom, restroom or kitchen.

Stay-open lids

For automatic sensor cans, step-on bins, and manual lid trash cans, it is recommended to let the lid stay open. This is useful when you want to throw away more trash than you can hold at once. For instance, when you are preparing dinner and want to throw away your cutting board’s food packaging and scrape, a stay-open lid is very convenient to have.


Some bins have a button or handle to let the lid stay open. Other bins, generally manual touch bins, have lids that automatically stay open after you’ve opened the lid.

Check Automatic trash cans

Hinge type (internal or external)

internal-hinge-lid-trash-canThere are two essential things to look for when talking about the hinge. The hinge is a crucial part of the recycling bin or trash can because it connects the bin with the lid. So it needs to be sturdy, not flimsy, and durable. You don’t want to have a lid that wobbles around or won’t shut properly because the hinge gets made out of cheap plastic. So the hinge needs to be sturdy and, preferably, made out of metal.

The other important part of the hinge is where the hinge is installed. Is it mounted on the inside of the bin or the outside of the bin? When you plan to place your new trash can flat against your wall, you need to have a bin with an internal hinge. Because of the inner hinge, you’re able to open the bin’s lid without it touching your wall and possibly leaves some scratches behind.

Example of a trash can you can place flat against your wall


Trash can flat against a wall


Removable buckets


A trash can or recycling bin gets messy after using it, that is perfectly normal. So it needs some cleaning every once in a while. The ability to remove the inner bucket(s) is advantageous when you want to give your bin a thorough cleaning session. Removable bins are also recommended when you want to use the bucket for recycling or compost and don’t want to use a recycling bag.

Another advantage of removable inner buckets is replacing a full trash bag with a new one more easily.

Filters to eliminate bad odors

charcoal-filter-in-lid-neautralize-trash-odorsLastly, how can you prevent a bad-smelling trash can? Because no one likes the smell of trash in the house. Some bins come with standard filters that absorb bad odors from your trash. The neutralizing filter is normally located on the inside of the lid. The filter contains charcoal, which absorbs the strong trash odors and neutralizes them so your trash can or recycling bin won’t have a bad smell.

After a while, you need to replace the filter with a new replacement filter you can buy at the store. In this way, you are assured of a fresh-smelling trash can, which is recommended for trash cans that stand in your kitchen, bathroom, or restroom.

bad-smelling-trash-canNot all trash cans have a holder for odor filters. Luckily you can also buy filters with a holder you can stick on the inside of the bin.

Besides a filter, the overall built of the trash can is also an important factor in containing bad trash can odors. A solid trash can with a sturdy lid that closes well enhances the ability to contain bad trash odors inside the bin.

DIY tip:

To eliminate bad odors you can also use cat litter, soda, or coffee beans. Just sprinkle it in an old sock or panty and place it on the bottom of the trash can.

Recycling Bin Guide
Tips for buying a trash can or recycle bin

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By 10 December 2020 Shares