Waste container

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"Wastebin" redirects here. For temporary deletion of a computer file, see Trash (computing).
A collection of movable waste containers

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.

Curbside dustbins[edit]

A wheelie bin in Berkshire, England
Dumpster awaiting pick-up
An over filled skip

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[1]

In some areas each household has multiple bins, separated into different categories (usually represented by colours) depending on its suitability for recycling.[2]

Commercial curbside waste containers are often larger dumpsters or skips.

Public litter bins[edit]

Since the 1995 terror bombings in France, public trash cans have largely been replaced by transparent plastic bags, in which it is more difficult to hide a bomb.

Public areas such as parks often have litter bins placed to improve the social environment by encouraging people not to litter.

Trashcan in the shape of a dolphin

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[3] has led to a policy of providing no bins in areas perceived to at risk;[4][5] or making them transparent.[6]

Metaphors[edit]

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.

In popular culture[edit]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]