Waste container

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  (Redirected from Litter bin)
"Wastebin" redirects here. For temporary deletion of a computer file, see Trash (computing).
International symbol "Tidyman" used on packaging to remind people to dispose of it in a bin instead of littering

A waste container is a container for temporarily storing waste, and is usually made out of metal or plastic. Some common terms are dustbin, garbage can, trash can and dumpster. The words "rubbish", "basket" and "bin" are more common in British English usage; "trash" and "can" are more common in American English usage. "Garbage" may refer to food waste specifically (when distinguished from "trash") or to municipal solid waste in general. In 1875, the first personal rubbish bins were introduced in Britain to create a regulated system of trash collection. [1]

Curbside dustbins

In many cities and towns, there is a public waste collection service which regularly collects household waste from the curbside. This will be loaded into a garbage truck and driven to a landfill, incinerator or crush facility to be disposed of. Household curbside waste containers are typically either:

  • trash cans, receptacles made of metal or plastic
  • wheelie bins, light, mobile plastic bins[2]

In some areas, each household has multiple bins separated into different categories (usually represented by colours) depending on its suitability for recycling.[3]

Commercial curbside waste containers are often larger dumpsters or skips.

Public litter bins

Waste containers at the National Theater in Taipei, Taiwan

Public areas, such as parks, often have litter bins placed to improve the social environment by encouraging people not to litter. Such bins in outdoor locations or other busy public areas are usually mounted to the ground or wall to discourage theft, and reduce vandalism, and to improve their appearance are sometimes deliberately artistic or cute.

In some places, the possibility of terrorists leaving devices in bins[4] has led to a policy of providing no bins in areas perceived to be at risk;[5][6] or making them transparent.[7]


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.

A "trash can" metaphor is often used in computer operating system desktop environments as a place files can be moved for deletion.

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.

See also


  1. ^ Developing Garbage Cans: The World’s Unsung Hero
  2. ^ Smyth, Sara (15 January 2014). "Councils to reduce size of wheelie bins by almost half for 6 million households in bid to cut expenses and meet recycling targets". Mail Online. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "Rubbish and recycling", ccc.govt.nz
  4. ^ "2 RAIL TERMINALS IN CENTRAL LONDON HIT BY I.R.A. BOMBS", February 19, 1991, NY Times
  5. ^ "Cops nix WTC trash cans", Aug 12, 2012, NY Post
  6. ^ "BART removes trash to make stations safer - Mass Transit". Mass Transit. 
  7. ^ "Japan's final sarin gas trial unlikely to bring closure", 16 Jan 2015, The Telegraph

External links

  • Media related to Trash container at Wikimedia Commons
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