What to Do with Old Trash Cans?

What to Do with Old Trash Cans
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They've been a loyal servant for many a year, but there comes a time in every trash can's career when it is time to call it a day and hang up its lid.

This may be due to damage, corrosion, and as many of us might have experienced ourselves, a new, young replacement has come along to take its place.

You now have two options in terms of what you can now do with your old trash can; get rid of it, or re-purpose it. Just as modern-day employment often means changing careers, your trash can could avoid heading for the scrap heap (literally) by being used in a new capacity.

Getting Rid of It

The means to do this may vary from city to city and from state to state but some of the generic ways you can get rid of an old trash can are:

  • Speak to your local government department which deals with the disposal of larger items. They will advise what procedures are in place for your trash can to be taken away
  • Cut it down into smaller pieces using a power saw so that they are small enough to be placed in a normal trash bag. This is probably more applicable for plastic trash cans, but if you do decide to cut down your metal trash can, ensure the pieces are placed in something which will prevent anyone from cutting themselves on the sharp edges of the metal
  • Recycle it by taking it to your local recycling center. Some of these may even pay for recyclable metal
  • Donate it to a worthwhile cause. If your old trash can is complete and still usable why not see if any local charities need one and donate it to them
Getting Rid of It

Repurposing It

The ways in which your old trash can be repurposed may depend on whether it is a plastic or a metal trash can. There are obviously some ways where it does not matter what material the trash can is made from.

Garden furniture

Depending on how creative you are, old trash cans can be turned into items of garden furniture. The simplest way is to turn it upside down and place a round piece of wood on it to make a small table. The wood can be secured with strong adhesive or by drilling holes and using bolts or screws.

Meat smoker

Obviously, this one where you need a metal trash can. It is going as basic as it is possible to go, but it is a fun way to cook up some steaks or ribs, without having to set up a full BBQ. You can place wood chips or charcoal inside and then place a metal grate across the top where you cook your meat.

Pet food storage

If you buy your pet food in bulk, it will normally come in large bags which are awkward to move, can be targeted by rodents, and if there is any moisture where you are storing it, this can cause the pet food to go off. Plastic trash cans are great for storing pet food because rodents can't chew through them, and they keep out water.



If you drill a hole in the bottom of the trash can this will allow for drainage. Fill the trash can with soil and then plant whatever flowers or shrubs you wish. Depending on the height of your trash can you may want to cut the top part off to make it a more appropriate size.

Animal feeder

Smaller plastic trash cans be used as an animal or bird feeder in your garden. To do this you would drill some holes in the trash can, fill it food, and then cover the top of it. You can either place it outside on the ground or use some string to hang it from a tree.

Homemade children's toys

Ok, so you are not going to produce anything that Toys R Us might be interested in, but there are some fun ways you can turn an old trash can in to a simple toy. Obviously, we are talking about plastic trash cans, and you do need to sanitize them first. At the simplest level, children could use an old trash can to store some of their existing toys, especially ones like Lego.


Both plastic and metal trash cans can be used to store all manner of items. Metal trash cans could be used for gardening tools, paint tins, workshop tools and car spares. Plastic trash cans for brooms and mops, pet toys, household cleaning fluids and sporting equipment such as footballs and baseball bats.


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