10 Incredible Uses for Garbage Cans

Garbage Can

Garbage cans were designed to store, collect and transport garbage for the garbage men to easily discard you refuse into the truck. However, that is not the only helpful use for garbage cans. In fact, they can be used for tasks as small as collecting lawn debris to creating an elaborate Halloween costume. The following is a list of the best alternative uses for your garbage can that can be effective and, in some instances, fun.  As opposed to most people who say not to try this at home, we very much encourage you to try all of these at home!

Animal Feed Storage

Although animal food comes in a bag, there are numerous reasons not to keep it there once home. Rodents can chew through the bag and contaminate the food. Also, water damage can cause the food to go bad and smart pets can even chew through the bag to get to the food. Also, if you purchase the pet food in bulk, it can be cumbersome to lift up the bag and pour the correct amount after it has been opened. Luckily, durable, plastic garbage cans will be able to protect the food while making it much easier to store.

Children’s Toys

After sterilization, the cute small plastic trash cans with a swinging door on the domed lid can be transformed into a children’s toy. One can be painted to resemble R2D2 from Star Wars or another can be made to look like Cookie Monster from Sesame Street to gobble up small toys. The options for repurposing a small waste bin for child enjoyment are endless.


Garbage cans can even be used to create decorative furniture that will not be holding a significant amount of weight. For instance, sturdy garbage cans can be turned upside-down and a round piece of wood added to create an end table. When creating this (or any) type of table that is repurposed from a garbage can, ensure the wood is securely fastened to the trash can via screws or some other type of adhesive before placing any items on top. Also, add a fresh coat of paint to really make the table pop in your home.

Halloween Costume

Garbage cans are so multifunctional that they can even be made into fun Halloween costumes. One idea is to cut a holes in the bottom, lid and sides of the trash can for your child’s feet, head and arms respectively. Next zip-tie the lid to the can so it doesn’t fall out. Then, take an old cloth belt and tie it across two sides of the can so it could rest on your child’s shoulders. Tape bubble wrap to the inside bottom of the can so walking is comfortable. Glue the top from the hole cut in the lid to a winter hat. Finally, print a sticker with a recycle sign that says, “recycle your kid” and add it to the costume.

Meat Smoker

If you can accept using an old garbage bin to cook your dinner then consider creating a meat smoker. Of course there are multiple methods to create a meat smoker from a garbage bin but one of the easiest ways is to first place a round hot plate, constructed from metal at the base of the can. Resting on top should be a metal chip box to hold the wood chips. Next, punch holes in the can to fit the round grate used to hold the meat. Make sure to use a metal trash can as plastic will melt and thoroughly sterilize the entire can prior to use. Once constructed, simply light the wood chips on fire and place the meat on top of the grate for cooking.


Garbage cans without the lid can be used as an indoor and outdoor planter. Simply drill a hole in the bottom of the trash bin to ensure proper water drainage. Fill the garbage can up with soil and make sure to water the plants regularly if there has not been recent rain. Large trash cans are the ideal containers to grow root vegetables or any other type of plant that has a deep root system, such as potatoes. To make the garbage can less conspicuous, add a coat of paint or decorate it to match your garden.

Rain Collection

There is no need to spend a large amount of money on a rainwater collection system. Instead, a trash can is a less expensive and more environmentally-friendly method of collecting rain water. There are multiple methods of constructing a rain barrel from a trash can. It is important to note that the larger the bin, the more water that can be collected for free following heavy rain storms which can be used in the garden. There are multiple tutorials available on the Internet to turn an old trash can into an eco-friendly water conservation tool.


Most recycling bins are only 14-gallons so if you are an avid recycled, that size just won’t do. However, if you use a garbage can and market it to say, “Recycling” with a silver Sharpie, you will be able to recycle a lot more goods. Also, if you live in a state with a recyclable bottle bill then just but a hole in the lid that is the size of a 1 liter bottle so the family knows where to recycle aluminum and plastic water bottles.

Sporting Goods Storage

When you need to storage three basketballs, two footballs, one soccer ball, one Frisbee and baseball gear, use the garbage can. For many years, schools around the country have utilized garbage cans to hold sporting goods so why not at home? Garbage cans are excellent for storing camping and recreational gear.

Tool Storage

If you do no have a rail system in your garage for rakes, edgers, shovels and long-handled tools in general, considered placing them in a trash bin. This can make storage much easier and safer, especially around the kids.

Trash cans have many more uses than simply discarding waste. They are excellent for storage and recycling as well as rain collection, gardening, furniture, creating fun toys and costumes and even cooking. Get creative and see what types of interesting uses you can come up with for your garbage can.


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