Recycling containers

A waste container is a container for temporarily storing waste, and is usually made out of metal or plastic. Common terms are dustbin, rubbish bin, litterbin, garbage can, trash can, trash bin, dumpster, waste basket, waste paper basket, waste receptacle, container bin, bin and kitchen bin. The words “rubbish”, “basket” and “bin” are more common in British English usage; “trash” and “can” are more common in American English usage

Curbside dustbins

The curbside dustbins usually consist of three types: trash cans (receptacles often made of tin, steel or plastic), Dumpsters (large receptacles similar to skips) and wheelie bins (light, usually plastic bins that are mobile). All of these are emptied by collectors, who will load the contents into a garbage truck and drive it to a landfill, incinerator or consuming crush facility to be disposed of. The standard sized UK wheelie bin household collection is 240 liters.

In some areas there is also a recycling service, often with one or more dedicated bins intended to receive items that can be recycled into new products. These bins are sometimes separated into different categories (usually represented by colors) which determine what materials can be inserted into the bin. The contents of the bins are taken to a recycling plant to be processed, and there are various systems for recycling bin collection: single bin combined stream systems, multiple bin systems, and cyclic collections with different materials collected on different days.

Bins in public areas

Certain public areas such as parks have litter bins which are placed alongside paths frequently walked by visitors. This encourages people to avoid littering, which creates an unhealthy and aesthetically unpleasant social environment.

Bins in outdoor locations or other busy public areas are usually mounted to the ground or wall. This discourages theft, and also reduces vandalism by making it harder for someone to physically move or maneuver the bins; to spill their contents on the ground for example, or to use the bin as an effective weapon to hit people over the back with.

Waste bins and other uses of the term in popular culture

The term ‘garbage can’ is also used for a model of decision making, the Garbage Can Model of decision making. It is concerned with cases of decision making in great aggregate uncertainty which can cause decisions to arise that from a distant point of view might seem irrational.

Waste Bins come in all shapes and sizes and serve many purposes, from preventing our streets from being strewn with litter to organizing the waste into groups that can be properly disposed of

A “Trash can” metaphor is sometimes used for a place on computers which stores a collection of deleted files. Called “Trash” on an Apple Macintosh, BeOS, and other systems. Called the “Recycle Bin” on Microsoft Windows. Formerly known as “Trash” and “Wastebasket” on GNOME desktop environments, it is now simply called “Deleted Items”—the “trash can” icon remains intact, though.

A bin can also be used for recycling, such as a ‘Bottle’ bin, commonly found near supermarkets and trash piles.

In a workplace setting, a bin may be euphemistically called the circular file. Whereas useful documents are filed in a filing cabinet, which is rectangular, junk mail and other worthless items are “filed” in the bin, which is often round.

When bins are in the shape of a living creature, the mouth is often used as the opening.

Back To Top

Related articles

our partnerships