Recycling Bin Guide

Trash can and recycling bin features


Home Recycling Bins Recycling Bin Guide

By 10 May 2017 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 overall a relatively cheap garbage can when you compare it with a stainless steel variant. Other than the price a plastic trash can is light weight and pretty easy to clean. It is 100% dent proof but it is possible to crack or break the plastic of the bin. When getting a plastic trash can it is important that 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 great to use in the restroom, bathroom, bedroom or in your home office. For heavy duty kitchen usage we recommend a more durable and stable trash can made of a strong metal. These tend to last longer.

Metal trash can with plastic lid

When you consider a more luxury waste bucket, then 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 for water so it won’t corrode or rust.

Some of these metal bins have a metal bin but a lid made of plastic. This makes the bin a little but more price friendly. A plastic lid is often used with manual trash cans where you need 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 lid and a light weight plastic lid is easier to handle for the motor than a lid made of more heavier stainless steel.

Metal trash cans made of stainless steel

metal-recycling-binsA 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 you are looking for a heavy duty step-on trash can with foot pedal. It is important that the foot pedal is 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 for 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.

simplehuman-Dual-Compartment-Recycling-Step-Can-rose-goldThe disadvantage of stainless steel trash cans is that they are fairly 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 colours. 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.

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 finger print resistant bin is what you want. Especially when you’re looking for a recycling bin with a manual lid, so you need to touch the lid every time you want to open it.

To prevent fingerprints on the bin you need to look for a stainless steel trash can that is treated with a special fingerprint-proof coating. This coating ensures that the usual fingerprints won’t show up on the material. Though, when you’ll 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 more easy 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 more easy to fit in a tight spot. So the shape-type of the bin 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 a round trash can with two (half) buckets is less convenient to throw away your trash, because there is simply less space in the bucket.

Besides a square or round shaped recycling or trash bin you can also choose for a tall, short, slim or wide sized bin. All these kind of 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 which 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 just walk away and the lid will shut down very smooth and (even more important) in a silent way. So no lood banging or slamming lids anymore. Which makes a 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, somehow, have the functionality 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 food packaging and scrape of your cutting board, 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.

Best automatic trash cans »

Hinge type (internal or external)

internal-hinge-lid-trash-canThere are two important 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 at 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 is 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 on the outside of the bin. Why is this important? Well, when you’re planning to place your new trash can flat against your wall you need to have a bin with an internal hinge. Because of the internal hinge you’re able to open the lid of the bin without it touches your wall and possible leaves some scratches behind.

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

Removable buckets

removable-inner-bucketsA 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 very useful 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 for it.

Another advantage of removable inner buckets is that it makes replacing a full trash bag for a new one more easy.

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 neutralize it 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 study lid that closes well really enhance 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 May 2017 Shares