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Garbage Cans

Garbage cans (commonly called dustbins in the UK) are containers used to store refuse until it can be disposed of. Most are made from metal or plastic and come in a variety of sizes. Small, lightweight models are best used indoors (such as in garages) where they do not have to stand up to the wear and tear of changing weather conditions and scavenging critters. Outdoor cans are usually larger and more durable.

If you are thinking of purchasing a garbage can, consider the following:

  • A good garbage can should have a tight fitting lid to seal in the odor. If you plan to keep the can in an unsecured area, a tight fitting (and perhaps locking) is important to keep animals from rummaging for food. On the other hand, for indoor models, a pedal that will open the lid when stepped on is a great convenience.
  • Plastic garbage cans are a popular choice because they take a great deal of abuse without denting or cracking. Heavier grade plastic will cost more but last longer. These cans come in a variety of shapes, which makes it easy to stack them side by side, and many models come with wheels that make it convenient to move the cans to a pick up spot. The chief disadvantage to plastic is that animals such as squirrels and raccoons can chew through the plastic.
  • Animals cannot chew through metal cans, but careless garbage collectors can easily dent them so that they look unsightly and the lids no longer fit tightly.
  • Garbage cans that can be lined with plastic bags can facilitate the removal of garbage with minimal contact with the contents.
  • In communities with recycling programs, it may be necessary to separate the trash, providing separate cans for materials such as paper, metal and glass from food scraps and yard waste. This may require separate cans if recyclables can not be left bagged or in the open.

Trash cans will be more secure from animals or possible vandalism if they are mounted to the ground or a wall. A sturdy wood or metal stand will store the cans off the ground, but remember that you will need to be able to lift the cans onto the stand.

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