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Types of Trash Cans & Recycling Bins

Proper recycling and waste disposal are critical for maintaining a clean business and property. At a glance, trash cans and recycling bins may just look like any other container. However, without looking more closely at some particular qualities of your cans, you could be choosing one that doesn't suit your needs at all. Choosing the right trash cans or recycling bins for your establishment is imperative to maintain a high level of cleanliness.

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Restaurant Equipment

Trash Can Sizes

When it comes to choosing trash cans, size is one of the most important factors. If you choose a trash can that is too big for a room, it takes up valuable floor space and can be an eye sore. On the other hand, a trash can that is too small will need to be emptied repeatedly and can affect productivity or cleanliness.

For an effective trash removal program, consider the volume of your business and the amount of waste you produce daily. In a high-volume restaurant, you may need several large trash cans for your back-of-house areas. For front-of-house, you may want to utilize smaller, discrete cans in the sight of guests. Space-saving slim cans can be used next to counters and in areas where you need a small foot-print. 

Types of Trash Cans

When determining what type of trash or recycling can you need, think about where you'll be placing your receptacle, how much waste it will hold, and if it will need to be transported. For example, the inside of a doctor's office will need a different trash can for the exterior of their building than their patient rooms, and perhaps even their lobby. Take a look at the various types and styles of trash cans available to determine which are best for your business.

Commercial Trash Cans

Made with high-quality, commercial-grade materials, commercial trash cans are designed to withstand heavy-duty use in any fast-paced environment. They typically come in a round or square shape and range in size from 6 gallons to 150 gallons. Commercial trash can is an umbrella term for a wide variety of different trash can styles, so it is important to know the location you plan to place your receptacle when choosing the type.

Person throwing waste out into a 32 gallon gray trash can

Below are some specialty styles of commercial trash cans.

  • Step-On Trash Cans: Ideal for hospitals, bathrooms, and kitchen prep areas, step-on trash cans feature pedals at the bottom that allow you to open the can without using your hands.
  • Cardboard Trash Cans: Perfect for high-volume indoor and outdoor events, cardboard trash cans are low cost, easy to set up, and disposable after the event is over.
  • Countertop Trash Cans: Place countertop trash cans at self-service stations to collect straw wrappers, coffee stirrers, or sugar packets. They're also great for sample stations where customers need to dispose of used toothpicks or tasting spoons.
  • Medical Trash Cans: Featuring step-activation for hands-free use, medical trash cans comply with OSHA standards for the safe containment of infectious waste.
  • Liquid Trash Cans: Featuring a built-in strainer to prevent non-liquids from clogging the unit, liquid trash cans provide a designated receptacle for guests to dispose of unwanted liquids. They also have a drainage hose for quick and easy emptying.

Outdoor Trash Cans

Maintain a clean and inviting outdoor facility, park, or stadium with outdoor trash cans. They are made with heavy-duty plastic, steel, or concrete to last in any kind of weather, and boast covered or partially covered lids for convenient disposal of discarded goods while keeping unsightly trash out of sight. In addition to withstanding the elements, some outdoor trash cans are designed to be animal resistant. Their reinforced construction and locks protect against repeated clawing and chewing by bears, making them great for campgrounds, parks, and complexes.

Person throwing away a paper coffee cup in an outdoor trash can

Below are some specialty styles of outdoor trash cans.

  • Drive-Thru Trash Cans: Coming with a chute-style lid, drive-thru trash cans make it easy for customers to dispose of trash directly from their cars. They also help minimize odor and keep rainwater from filling the can so they are easy to empty.
  • Outdoor Cigarette Receptacles: Ideal for use outside your business to efficiently collect cigarette waste, outdoor ashtrays and cigarette receptacles come as either stand-alone units or with a larger compartment to also hold regular trash. It is wise to always have at least one cigarette receptacle located on your property to prevent cigarettes from winding up on the ground and littering your premises.
  • Pet Waste Stations: If you operate a dog-friendly business, park, or campground, it is helpful to install a pet waste station to keep your area clean and designate a specific area for pet waste disposal.

Industrial Trash Cans

Use an industrial trash can to handle large loads of waste. They are ideal for warehouses, manufacturing plants, landscaping businesses, and construction sites. Industrial trash cans can come with casters to easily maneuver them to larger waste receptacles or are stationary to serve as a dumpsite for large amounts of trash.

Person transporting waste in a tilt truck

Below are some common styles of industrial trash cans.

  • Wheeled Trash Cans: Featuring two large wheels at the rear of the can, wheeled trash cans can be used stationary, and then you can tilt them onto their wheels for easy transport around your facility. Compared to tilt trucks, wheeled trash cans have a smaller footprint.
  • Tilt Trucks: Boasting ample weight capacities, tilt trucks are designed to handle anywhere from 300 lb. to 2300 lb. of trash and raw materials. Their design makes it easy for one person to unload the trash.
  • Cube Trucks: Compared to tilt trucks, cube trucks have four equal-sized casters and they remain in the same position when stationary and transport. They boast large capacities, are easy to maneuver, and have high walls that keep items from falling while moving.
  • Dumpsters: Use dumpsters to collect and consolidate trash outside of your building. They feature sealed rim lids to prevent leaks and odors.

Decorative Trash Cans

Perfect for front entryways, conference rooms, waiting rooms, and lobbies, decorative trash cans come in different styles and colors to blend into your venue for inconspicuous waste management. You can choose between indoor and outdoor and whether you want a decorative trash can or a decorative recycling bin.

Stainless steel waste container in a breakroom

Below are some common styles of decorative trash cans.

  • Stainless Steel Trash Cans: Featuring a stylish, clean appearance, stainless steel trash cans are ideal for front lobbies, waiting areas, and other rooms where you need a durable waste disposal option that won't sacrifice style.
  • Concrete Trash Cans: Durable, weather-resistant concrete trash cans feature a heavy weight to keep them secure outdoors. They are ideal for high-volume settings, such as shopping malls, parks, and hotels that need stylish yet practical waste receptacles.
  • Decorative Outdoor Trash Cans: Maintain the upscale appearance of your grounds while providing exceptional waste control with decorative outdoor trash cans. They typically feature an open top to enable hands-free disposal for maximum sanitation.
  • Decorative Recycling Bins: Providing stylish, easily identifiable decorative recycling bins will help further your facility's green initiatives without detracting from your aesthetic.

Space Saving Trash Cans

Maximize the available square footage with space-saving trash cans. They are great for use in small kitchens, bathrooms, and offices that have little available space. Many of these trash cans have a slim profile and are designed to fit in corners, hug walls, or fit into a recessed cutout.

Customer throwing out their trash in a corner trash can

Below are some common styles of space-saving trash cans.

  • Slim Trash Cans: Featuring a slim profile and rectangular shape, slim trash cans are great for placing in breakrooms, kitchens, narrow hallways, and other tight spaces while remaining out of the footpath.
  • Corner Trash Cans: The triangle design of a corner trash can allows it to be inconspicuously placed in corners around your dining area and office.
  • Half-Round Trash Cans: The design of a half-round trash can fits flush against a wall to reduce obstruction in high-traffic areas. They are available in heavy-duty plastic or stainless steel, making them great for indoor and outdoor use.
  • Wall-Mounted Trash Cans: Ideal for bathrooms and kitchens, wall-mounted trash cans keep the container out of the way of foot traffic and leave floors clear for cleaning.

Types of Recycling Bins

Responsibly dispose of plastic, glass, tin, aluminum, and paper by placing commercial recycling bins throughout your facility. Wherever you place your bins, it is a good idea to communicate to your staff and guests what materials for good for recycling or if your bin is only for recycling a certain material. For example, not all plastic can be recycled the same way so it is beneficial to post signs or graphics identifying which items can be recycled.

A trash can and recycling bin next to each other in a breakroom

Below are some common styles of recycling bins.

  • Multi-Stream Recycling Cans: Great for keeping recyclables organized, multi-stream cans provide multiple openings and at least two separate containers to efficiently sort recyclables.
  • Curbside Recycling Bins: Use curbside recycling bins to hold a large amount of recyclables easily. Due to its short height, it is ideal for leaving at the curb for recyclables pickup without being blown over by the wind.
  • Compost Bins: Place designated compost bins near your trash and recycling cans to provide a disposal container for organic waste that can be composted. Starting a composting program is beneficial for restaurants that grow their own produce and want to cut down on the cost of fertilizer.

Trash Can Accessories

Trash can and recycling bin parts and accessories replace missing or broken parts, lengthen the lifespan of your garbage can, and can help users easily transport the cans.

  • Trash Can Liners: Otherwise known as garbage bags, trash can liners protect the inside of your trash can from getting messy and allow for easy trash removal. There are a few different types of can liners with varying levels of thicknesses, so be sure to purchase the correct liner for each can.
  • Trash Can Lids: Lids are essential for minimizing odors and keeping debris from falling into your trash can. Some trash cans come with lids already attached, whereas some can be chosen based on your needs. Others have reservoirs to catch liquid waste separately, allowing a single container to be used for liquids and trash or recycling.
  • Dollies: These protect the bottom of trash cans from damage due to dragging on floors or pavement. It is great for use in kitchens or for janitorial staff where the cans are regularly moved around. Some even have lock features to secure the can while stationary.
  • Flatware Retriever Lids: A magnetic component on these lids catches metal flatware when accidentally thrown away by guests, saving you money in the long run.
  • Caddy Bags: These wrap around a can to provide easy storage for janitorial staff.
  • Signs: Turn ordinary trash cans into specific trash/recycling containers with clear symbols to indicate various waste options.
  • Rigid Liners: A rigid plastic construction fits nicely into a trash can and won't tear. It guarantees safe disposal with no mess.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details.

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