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Wastebin redirects here. For temporary deletion of a computer file see Recycle bin (computing).
Litter bin redirects here. For a place for pet animals to 'go to the toilet' in, see litter box.

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, litter bin, 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 waste containers

Curbside waste containers 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 litres or more.

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 colours) 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 floor. This discourages theft, and also reduces vandalism by making it harder for the bins to be physically moved or maneuvered.

In the past terrorists have left improvised explosive devices in bins. The bomb is much less likely to be spotted than an unattended bag and the metal bins provide extra shrapnel that injures people nearby when it detonates. For this reason there are no bins in most railway stations, most airports, and many shopping centres in the United Kingdom, or if they are provided they are just a bin bag hanging from a metal hoop.

A Danish design company called Peoples ApS, in cooperation with Swedish based Dynasafe AB, have developed a "bombproof" bin suitable for public places. The bins were successfully tested at Saab Bofors test center, an independent third party, using the maximum amount of explosives specified for the particular design.

Apartment buildings often have dust flumes in which residents can dispose of their waste in stainless steel waste containers. These chutes usually lead to some large receptacle or waste-disposal complex in the basement.

Uses of the term in popular culture

The term 'garbage can' is also used for a model of decision making, the Garbage Can Model.

A 'trash can' metaphor is sometimes used for a place on computers which stores a collection of deleted files. This location is called 'Trash' on an Apple Macintosh, BeOS, and other systems, and '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, however.

On the internationally distributed children's television series Sesame Street, the character Oscar the Grouch lives in a waste container, and sings the song 'I Love Trash'.

Slang Terminology

'Bin' and variations on the word are often used as parts of English slang such as the phrase 'loony bin' referring to a mental home. Another example would be 'Off your bin' or simply 'off the bin' in reference to someone who has lost their mind.


See also


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