Your solid and reliable trash can has finally bit the dust, and now it’s time to dispose of it. There are a number of reasons people find themselves needing to dispose of a trash can, whether you upgraded to a trash can with wheels, or switched to a metal trash can to help keep animals and vermin from scavenging through your garbage and making a mess. Whatever the reason, there are a few ways to throw out unwanted trash cans with the rest of the garbage.
But how does one throw away a trash can? If you leave a trash can by the curb, the collectors don’t take the whole can, only its contents, does that mean you have to take the old trash can to the dump yourself? But you don’t want that gross, smelly, trash can in your vehicle, so do you have to schedule a special pick up and pay a waste disposal fee?
How do you throw out a trash can? The same way you always do!
The easiest way to throw away an old trash can is to place it by the curb. The difference between throwing out the trash and throwing out the trash can, involves two to three things:
- The trash can must be empty. If the trash can is full of trash, the trash collectors will treat it as usual; they will empty it of its contents and leave it on the curb.
- The trash can should (usually) be placed on the curb upside down. This means leaving the lid on top of the inverted trash can (if it’s being disposed of as well), or leaving the attached lid open and against the curb—out of the way of the street and driveways.
- Lastly, it may or may not be required, depending on your local trash collectors, but it is recommended that you leave a sign attached to the trash can that clearly reads something along the lines of, “Discard” or “For disposal.” With that done, your regular trash disposal crew will handle it, though some waste disposal services charge extra for throwing away large items.
Most waste management services have a website with helpful information about what refuse they do and do not remove, and any associated fees for services. When in doubt, just ask. Give your local waste disposal services a call if you can’t find the information you’re looking for.
If your local garbage collectors won’t take the can or require a scheduled pick up and charge a fee for disposing of larger items, you still may be able to dump the old trash can by leaving it by the curb for no extra charge. If the trash can is plastic, cut it into pieces small enough to fit in a trash bag, and throw it out with the rest of the garbage. You can do this with a saw, large knife, or large scissors.
Remember, safety first. You want to make sure that you’re wearing goggles and gloves and are in a safe area before you start chopping. And don’t forget to cut away from yourself.
Take It to the Dump Yourself
If it’s going to be more trouble than it's worth to dispose of the can, head to your local dump instead. They usually charge by the pound for how much trash you throw away, and because you’re just throwing away a single can, it’ll likely be pretty cheap. If you don’t like the idea of having the trash can in your vehicle, or the smell alone of having it that close to your nose for the duration of the drive to your local waste management center, you can take steps to mitigate the gross factor. If it’s dirty, wipe it down with soap and water or another cleaning product. This should help reduce your cringe and any bad odors long enough to bear the transportation.
Don’t trash it! Recycle it!
Rather than just making the can another member of the landfill population, take your plastic trash cans to a plastic recycling center, and metal trash cans to the metal recycling center.
If you’re throwing your trash can away because you bought a newer, bigger one, or just need fewer cans, and the one you no longer need is in decent, clean condition, it could be donated to a non-profit organization, where they can reuse it if it’s still functional, or recycle it if it’s damaged beyond its normal function.
Don’t trash it! Reuse it!
Old trash cans can serve as a storage container with a number of different uses if they’re not too damaged and easy enough to clean. Here are some good examples:
- Yard tools
- Pet supplies
- Sports equipment
- Garden tools
Another great use for an old trash can that’s environmentally friendly in multiple ways is to use it as a compost bin.
How to convert a trash can into a compost bin:
- Drill holes in the bottom and sides of the garbage can to provide air circulation.
- Place the can on bricks to keep it off the ground and provide air circulation under the can.
- Add uncooked vegetable scraps, leaves, grass clippings and plant materials.
- Keep the compost moist and turn it every two weeks. It can be turned by locking the lid in place and rolling it around, or just by stirring it with a garden tool, such as a shovel.
If you’re searching for answers on how to send your trash can to the dump because it’s damaged beyond repair, it may also be a good time to think about three things:
- The type of trash can you replace the old one with
- What you dispose of in your trash cans
- How your trash cans are stored
It’s one thing for your trash cans to become crushed or cracked from accidentally backing into them with the car, but depending on the material the trash can is made of, you may want to consider how your trash cans are treated and take measures to treat them differently.
- Trash cans can become damaged from improperly disposing of hazardous waste like hot grease or corrosive chemicals. Plastic trash cans are sturdy, but they do have their limits. Plastic trash cans melting as a result of exposure to heat is not likely, but it is possible. Avoid storing plastic trash cans near appliances that get hot for long durations, and repeatedly disposing of hot items, like cooking grease or hot coals. If you need a convenient place to dispose of such items, check out our concrete hot coal and outdoor waste container.
- Storing trash cans outside where they are unprotected against the elements and vulnerable to scavengers will take its toll. Cold, wet conditions can allow mold and mildew to grow, and metals cans can become rusted or oxidized. This can cause materials to deteriorate over time or effuse unpleasant odors, leaving you needing to replace your trash cans more often.
- Storing garbage cans where animals can access them for food means they’re more likely to be chewed through or damaged by raccoons. If you are having troubles with animals invading your yard, we can help you with tips, tricks, and solutions on how to keep raccoons out of your trash cans and how to keep squirrels off your deck. If you're getting rid of a trash can because it’s infested with maggots, you may not need to, you may be able to remedy a maggot infested trash can without having to throw it out.
Whatever the condition of your trash cans, we recommend storing them, recycling receptacles, and compost bins away from hungry animals. The source of food attracts them to your yard, along with a host of risks, like property damage, infestation, and exposure to disease and parasites.
Once you’ve disposed of your old trash can, it’s probably time for a new one! We’re here to help. Trashcans Unlimited has a massive selection of garbage cans for any function. Get in touch with us or start browsing products today!