How to Recycle Garbage Cans : 6 Situations Explained

How to Recycle Garbage Cans

Most people don’t think twice about throwing away an empty soda can or tossing a newspaper in the recycling bin. But what about those big, bulky garbage cans? It may seem like a strange idea, but recycling your old garbage can actually be good for the environment.

Recycling your old garbage cans is a great way to reduce landfill waste and save money on your next trash bill. Also, with a little creativity, your old garbage cans can be recycled into something new and useful.

During this blog, we will explore how to recycle garbage cans. It is our sincere hope that you find this information helpful and think twice before throwing away your next garbage can.

How to Recycle Garbage Cans: An Indirect Approach

Recycle Garbage Cans

Complete the Prerequisites: 

When it comes time to get rid of an old garbage can, many people simply leave it on the curb with the hope that someone will take it away. 

This is not always the best solution, as the can may end up being left there for weeks or even months. A better way to recycle an old garbage can is to follow these simple steps. 

  1. First, the trash can needs to be cleaned out. 
  2. The second thing to do is to place it upside down on the curb. This will signal to passersby that it is available for recycling. 
  3. As a final tip, we recommend that you attach a sign to the trash can that clearly states “Discard” or “For disposal.” 

Steps for Metal Trash Can: 

Many people don’t realize that their metal garbage cans can be recycled. Most metal recycling programs will accept empty metal trash cans, but you have to request a special pick-up. 

  1. To recycle your metal garbage can start by calling your local waste management company to request a scrap metal collection. 
  2. Place your empty can at the curb upside down the day it is collected.
  3. Place a large note on the can identify it as “scrap metal.” Make sure that the note is visible from the street, so the collectors know to take it. 

Steps for Plastic Trash Can:

Plastic garbage cans are not always easy to recycle. With a little effort, you can recycle your plastic trash can. 

  1. The first step is to request a bulk trash collection from your local garbage company. 
  2. When setting your empty can at the curb for collection, turn it upside down.
  3. After a trash run, if your trash can hasn’t been picked up, use a saw or large knife to cut it into small pieces and place it in a trash bag.

This method allows the trash pickup service to recycle your garbage cans.

How to Recycle Garbage Cans: A Direct Approach

How to Recycle Garbage Cans Direct Approach

If you have the means for it, you should look for these methods.

Repurpose it as a Storage Bin

The most common misconception about garbage cans is that they are nothing more than receptacles for trash. These humble containers can actually be repurposed into a versatile storage solution. 

With just a few shelves and a lid, you can transform a garbage can into a stylish storage container, which can be the perfect place to store everything from sports equipment to gardening tools. All you need is a few items from most hardware stores to complete the project.

  1. To get started, take off the garbage can lid and set it aside.
  2.  Next, measure the inside of the can and cut a piece of plywood to fit snugly against the sides. Be sure to sand down any rough edges before attaching the plywood to the can with screws or nails. 
  3. Once the plywood is in place, add a few shelves by cutting more pieces of plywood to size and attaching them to the vertical supports with screws or nails. 
  4. Paint or stain the entire unit to give it a finished look.

Repurpose it as a Compost Bin

You can repurpose garbage cans into compost bins with just a few simple supplies.

  1. First, drill several holes in the bottom of the garbage can for drainage. 
  2. Then, line the can with straw or other organic material to help aerate the compost. 
  3. Next, add your food scraps and other organic waste to the bin. Be sure to layer in some dry leaves or grass clippings to help balance out the moisture levels. 
  4. Cover the bin with a lid or piece of tarp to keep out rain and pests. 

Repurpose it as a Pet Food Storage

One viable option that may not be considered is repurposing garbage cans into pet food storage containers. While this may seem like an odd idea, it can actually be quite effective. 

  1. Choose the right size garbage can. For smaller pets, a 2-gallon can should suffice. For larger pets, a 5-gallon can be necessary. 
  2. Once the appropriate size can have been chosen, the next step is to clean it thoroughly. This is important to ensure that any food contamination does not occur. 
  3. After the can has been cleaned, it can then be lined with a heavy-duty garbage bag. This will help to keep the food fresh and dry. 
  4. The last step is to label the can clearly so that there is no confusion about what is inside. 

Alternate Ways to Recycle Garbage Cans

Alternate Ways to Recycle Garbage Cans
  1. Take an old, beat-up garbage can and give it new life as a planter. The purpose of this project is to upcycle an object that would otherwise end up in a landfill. 
  2. Remove the lid from the trash can to make a raised garden bed. This is a great option for people who don’t have a lot of space in their yard but still want to grow their own food. 
  3. Paint an old garbage can and use it as a storage container for Garden tools, pool toys, or any other items that need to be stored outdoors. 
  4. Drill holes in the bottom of a garbage can and use it to store firewood.
  5. Use an old garbage can as a trash bin for your car. You can use this method to keep your car clean and free of garbage. 
  6. Turn an old garbage can into a rain barrel. This is a great way to save water and reduce your water bill.

Why Should We Recycle Garbage Cans?

  1. It reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. This is important because landfills are a major source of pollution, and they can also leak harmful materials into the ground, contaminating soil and water.
  2. Recycling helps to create jobs. Recycling businesses need employees to sort and process materials. This provides employment for people in the community and helps to boost the economy.
  3. When you recycle your garbage can, the material is shredded and made into new products like furniture or picture frames. This process uses less energy than creating new products from scratch, which means it emits fewer greenhouse gasses. 
  4. And since recycled products are in high demand, recycling companies are often willing to pay for your used cans. So not only is recycling good for the environment, but it’s also good for your wallet.


How Much Does it Cost to Recycle a Garbage Can?

The cost of recycling a garbage can varies according to the type of can and the location of the recycling facility. In most cases, it is relatively inexpensive to recycle a garbage can.

Why Should I Recycle My Garbage Can Instead of Throwing it Away? 

Recycling helps to reduce waste. Every year, millions of tons of garbage are sent to landfills, where they take up space and release harmful chemicals into the environment. By recycling your garbage can, you’re doing your part to reduce this environmental problem.

What Happens to Recycled Garbage Cans? 

They are actually recycled into new products. The recycling process starts by sorting the cans by their material. Steel cans are separated from aluminum cans, which are then both cleaned and crushed. 

The steel cans are melted down and formed into new steel products, while the aluminum cans are melted and formed into new aluminum products. So, the next time you recycle your garbage can, know that it will be transformed into a new product and not just end up in a landfill.

Are There any Restrictions on Recycling Garbage Cans? 

In most cases, there are no restrictions on recycling garbage cans. Many recycling programs will accept any type of container as long as it is clean and empty. There may be some limitations depending on the type of can being recycled. 

For example, aluminum cans typically have to be rinsed out before they can be recycled, while plastic bottles may need to be flattened. Additionally, garbage cans that are made from glass or metal may need to be separated from other recyclables before they can be processed. 

Ultimately, it is best to check with your local recycling program to see if there are any specific requirements for recycling garbage cans.

How Often Should I Recycle My Garbage Can?

Recycling is important, but knowing what and how often to recycle can be confusing. Recyclability depends on the type of garbage can. If you have a metal can, it can be recycled indefinitely. 

If you have a plastic can, it should be recycled every two to three years. The reason for this is that plastic cans degrade over time and are more likely to break down in the recycling process. 

As a result, they are less likely to be recycled into new products. So, if you wish to recycle your garbage can, your garbage can will be recycled for as long as it is made of metal. 


When it comes to recycling, one of the most important things to remember is that every little bit counts. In this line of thought, one way to help reduce the amount of waste in landfills is to recycle your garbage cans. 

Most cities have recycling centers that will accept metal cans, and many also offer curbside pick-up for recyclables. As well, many hardware stores will accept used cans for recycling. 

Simply cleaning out your cans and taking them to the nearest recycling center can help make a difference. So next time you’re ready to toss your old garbage can in the trash, think about recycling it instead.

You Can Also Read: Is it okay to keep garbage cans in the garage?

How to Recycle Garbage Cans : 6 Situations Explained

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