The Best Kitchen Trash Can

My quest to find the best kitchen trash can might be a quest you are on, too. If you you are blessed with a kitchen drawer that holds your trash and maybe recycles, too, this isn’t really a problem for you. But if you aren’t looking for the best kitchen trash can, it’s some other household product, and this process of making smart purchases might help you.

Best Kitchen Trash Can for organizing

I wasn’t going to write about this at all, but then a conversation with a friend who is organizing a green event in Philly changed my mind. And, after all, a trash bin is one of the four or five essential bins that you need when organizing.

Finding the Best Kitchen Trash Can

The back story is that I’ve had my step-on kitchen trash can for at least 16 years, and probably closer to 26 years. This summer the flip lid broke. I’m not naming names, but maybe somebody was a little rough with the lid? We’re working on passing down the concept of taking care of your things. It’s a hard lesson when you grow up in an age of having anything you want delivered to your door within 24 hours.

I tried to fix the kitchen trash can with wire and hardware and glue and clips and…have you ever tried to fix plastic? I spent three months trying to fix it, but the only way to make that work would have been to take the lid off and do without the flippy feature. I prefer not to leave an open bag of trash sitting in the middle of my kitchen. As a practical matter, the lid keeps odors inside, and keeps my kitchen smelling good.

Sexy Kitchen Trash Cans?

You may not realize that trash cans have gotten sexy. A sleek, feature-rich kitchen trash can will easily run you over $100, and spending up to $300 on a multi-compartment trash can is now normal. They can come with voice control, motion sensors so you never have to touch it, and odor filters.

Shiny stainless steel trash cans are common. I tried to avoid plastic and go with a more sustainable material, because we all know how I feel about plastic. I was open to exploring metal and wood trash cans.

HomeGoods has an entire aisle of colorful, mostly metal trash cans. The problems with metal? Many are dented before they leave the store, and once dented, they are damaged forever. Also, the lever mechanism for the step-on feature is often either all-plastic or plastic in the parts that matter. When they break, there is no way to replace the lid lift, and I didn’t want to be right back where I started, but hundreds of dollars poorer.

Honestly, I just wanted my old trash can back.

The Search for the Best Kitchen Trash Can

I searched for weeks for the best kitchen trash can that met my criteria.

  • slim, no more than 12″ wide, for my galley kitchen
  • white color
  • tall enough to accommodate regular tall kitchen trash bags
  • does not need a special size or make of trash bags
  • step-on pedal mechanics that are well-made and contained within the unit itself (A few had a left bar that shot out when open, taking up too much space.)
  • potentially repairable
  • the best recyclable option at the end of its useful life
  • locally sourced

Found: the Best Kitchen Trash Can

It did not come up on my first, second, or even third search, but I finally found what I was looking for at Target. Their 11 gallon slip step trash can from their Brightroom brand seemed perfect. I tried to get it locally, but in the end, could only get it by home delivery. Such is the way of the world.

The step on mechanism has a nice big pedal…

Best Kitchen Trash Can with step-on pedal

that is completely contained in the back…

Best Kitchen Trash Can back view


The lift mechanism is a little thicker plastic than most, so hopefully it lasts as long as my previous kitchen trash can.

Best Kitchen Trash Can lid lift


It’s also easy to unhook, which allows the lid open while you use it without having to press the pedal.

Best Kitchen Trash Can lid lift unhooked, disengaged


It is slim, perfect for my galley kitchen.

Best Kitchen Trash Can dimensions


It’s just tall enough to use standard tall kitchen trash bags and for a tall-ish person to use comfortably.

Best Kitchen Trash Can height


I like that the lip of the lid is thick, so most days I don’t see the trash bag liner hanging out.

Best Kitchen Trash Can from Target


Who Cares about the Best Kitchen Trash Can?

But this story is about much more than the best kitchen trash can. It’s about the process of searching for the right product that’s not going to become clutter or trash before its time.

Best Kitchen Trash Can uses tall kitchen trash bags


The Truth about My Trash Can…and Yours

Back to my friend running that green event later this year. She’s trying to help people get rid of their stuff in sustainable ways. But here’s the truth…

The most sustainable way to live is to not buy consumer goods at all.

That’s not practical, so better choices are to purchase used goods or goods you expect to have for a lifetime.

The next best option is to take care of your things. When needed, repair household goods and use them as long as you can.

And the final step of sustainability is to pass on your goods in working condition so others can use them, either through donation, sale, or gifting.

***People like to think if they donate things, they are saving the earth.

But here’s the awful truth…everything we own will end up in a landfill or trash heap someday. We all have far more possessions than we came into this world with, and far more than we need to survive.

And that’s not even the worst part. The heaviest damage to the earth was done in the manufacturing process. The resources, chemicals, energy, and water used to make the thing you now own usually cost far more than the $$$ you actually paid.

Stop Decluttering

Learning to purchase less is a journey.

Learning to purchase fewer things, but purchasing good quality, slowly, with very specific criteria like those above, takes time and energy. 

But guess what? Getting rid of things also takes time and energy!

That’s why I’m here, still writing this blog after more than a dozen years, hoping people will learn to STOP DECLUTTERING.

How do you stop decluttering? Learn to live lightly, purchasing what you need, not everything you want.

And before you crank up the hate mail, yes, I am completely aware that purchasing a new trash can after twenty-ish years is still a want, not a need. I could have made do without a lid on the trash can. I could have taken more time and perhaps purchased something used. I probably shouldn’t even be using plastic trash bags! I could have…we all have to live with our decisions in this modern world.

If you’ve spent any time around me, you know I have no interest in judging. It doesn’t help anyone. I’m on a journey to learn every day, and I hope you are open to that, too.

If you’ve got a story to share about something you wanted to or could have bought quickly, but took time and energy to purchase like I’ve described here, please share it in the comments or in our private clutter-free Facebook Group. Your story might inspire others.

Are we stilling pinning posts? I’d love for you to pin and share this. Thanks.

Best Kitchen Trash Can for organizing

No matter when you found us, catch up with all of this month’s organizing articles here.


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Sandra

    Thank you for finding the best kitchen trash can for me. I have not liked any of my trash cans in the past. The step on one’s always move and slide into the wall and make marks. They sneakily keep scooting. So I went back to a swing top lid. But I have to stretch my tall kitchen bags over this can. I have to end up using my big black hefty trash bags. I like the idea that the kitchen trash can that you found can keep the little open for my busy times. So please tell me that this trash can stays put.

    1. Darla

      Hi, Sandra, mine doesn’t move much, but maybe yours has a bit more get up and go. I suspect your floor is on the slippery side, especially if it is ceramic or porcelain tile.

Comments are closed.