What is the most used item in your kitchen?


Most would guess it is the refrigerator, microwave, sink, coffee pot, stove, oven, etc.. I would posit that the waste container is the most used thing you have in your kitchen. Think about how often you interact with the waste container through your normal everyday life. Now multiply that times the number of family members you have. If you agree, keep reading. If not, please let us know your thoughts.

Here is my best advice on choosing a waste container.

Now that I’ve gotten your curiosity piqued, I’ve got some more thoughts for you on use, placement, and type of waste container to deploy in your kitchen. In a previous article I covered “6 Steps To Organizing Your Kitchen”, where I cover what I feel is an important concept, that this is your kitchen, and as such needs to be organized based on your lifestyle. This lifestyle organizing concept is just as important, if not more important when choosing and deploying a waste container. 

How Do You Use Your Waste Container?

This is pretty obvious, until you think about all the uses, and materials we encounter every day. Let’s start with a task as common as cooking dinner. We start with the vegetables. We have packaging which could be plastic wrap over a Styrofoam box for tomatoes, or just a plastic bag, but maybe a can for tomato sauce, or green beans. Then there’s the big plastic milk jug, a big glass bottle which held wine or juice. The cardboard containers can be compressed to take up less space, but compressing those glass bottles gets a bit dicy! Aluminum cans can mount up too, but I could write a whole article on that. 

My point is space becomes an issue, especially with a large family. In my experience, teenagers also generate lots of trash too, and don’t like to take it out. My advice is get the biggest container you can comfortably fit, unless you know you don’t need the extra space. Feedback from customers indicates that some people like to be forced to take out the trash often, and also some just don’t generate a lot of trash. Again, organizing around your lifestyle is the key.

A pull-out waste container isn’t always used for waste either. Don’t discount using one of these for other storage needs. A not so uncommon use is to store pet food. The easy to slide out mechanism makes access easy for this twice daily task. Lids help keep the food fresher and odors contained. We’ve had customers use these to store root vegetables like potatoes and onions too. Bulk goods storage in the kitchen or pantry can be tricky, and a pull-out bin can be the solution, let your imagination be your guide.

Location, Location, Location

We’ve all heard the age old axiom about location, it doesn’t apply to just real estate. This goes hand-in-hand with the kitchen work triangle we are all familiar with. The placement of the waste container should be well thought out with your daily tasks taken into account. Chores like bringing in the groceries, cooking, clearing the table, feeding the pets, are all impacted by the placement of your trash can. If you are planning a new kitchen, or doing a complete remodel consider your existing work flow and preplan the placement of the trash can in your drawings or plans. Remember, a step here and a step there can add up to a lot of wasted time and effort in your daily life. 

What type Trash Can should you use?

The placement and aesthetic style will be the biggest considerations when choosing  the type of trash can for your kitchen. I’m also a big fan of trash cans with lids. If you are limited is cabinet space, especially if an open space in not within the proper work flow, your best choice would probably be the standard freestanding container we’ve used most of our lives. A freestanding container also allows the most flexible placement and choice of style. This also allows for moving the trash can around for easier access while doing a specific task or changes to your work flow as your kitchen organization and use evolves. It also has the draw back that style will be very important, as you will see it all the time.

A step up from the basic bin is a pedal trash can which provides the added benefits of a built in lid that opens with a step on the foot pedal. This is the perfect solution when you have clean hands and don’t want to contaminate your hands by touching an unsanitary rubbish bin. 

If location and cabinet space permits, I feel the pull-out trash can is the ideal solution. The trash can is concealed and out of the way while you are working. The trash slide out can be left extended for tasks like peeling vegetables and scraping dishes, then slid back in to the cabinet to conceal the trash and regain the floorspace. Many varieties and styles are available now, many with the option lids. Other than simple esthetics, a lid can also help hold the liner in place to keep it from sliding down into the can.

Depending on your cabinet size, you can have options from 1 to 4 different containers. The more containers available, the easier it is to recycle and separate different types of trash. A hanging canvas bag is geared for recycling newspaper.

Door mounting is another great feature. I love the ability to grab the door handle and slide out the unit drop the trash in the bin and slide it right back closed and concealed. It’s one quick motion. Speaking of the motion, higher end units are also available with soft-open and/or soft close so you don’t get any loud slamming.

With the above in mind, I think you will see that investing a bit more time and money into your kitchen trash solution will bring many years of Lifestyle Optimization!

What is the most used item in your kitchen?
OVIS, Chip Wimbauer November 29, 2023
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