How to Dispose of a Garbage Can

3d illustration of a trash can

Now, it might seem paradoxical to even consider doing something like this. Regardless, you can do just about anything to a garbage can that you can to garbage itself. Here is how to dispose of a garbage can.

To dispose of a garbage can made of any material, take it to the nearest landfill, sell it, reuse it, recycle it, or melt it down and repurpose the material that it was made from. It could also be given away if there is someone that lives nearby who is willing to take it.

Despite my observation of the paradoxical nature of this task, there really is nothing complicated about the process. Here are a few ways you can that old can of yours. For the most part, we will be using as an example the type of trash can that is made of metal, like the one pictured above.

When to Dispose of a Garbage Can

Knowing when you ought to toss the garbage can is necessary for starting this process. Most trash cans are fairly sturdy, no matter what they are made of. They are designed to withstand any type of weather and survive most conditions forced upon them, which is why oftentimes they aren’t damaged when a car hits them.

However, accidents are still likely to happen. If there is a crack or any sort of leak in the container that is large enough to jeopardize the rigidity and functionality of the container, then it may be time to replace it with a newer one. The lifespan of a trash can is extremely long, so do not concern yourself with replacing it unless it is absolutely necessary.


A trash can meant for trash will likely feel most at home where all trash belongs. It is likely that you will not need to actually drive the can to the nearest landfill yourself. You can probably drop it off near the area you would normally take your trash to sit in waiting for garbage day.

However, you will need a way of separating this container that looks as though it is still doing what it is supposed to with the rest of the garbage. One way of doing this is simply labeling the can as trash that needs disposing of. You can either spray paint it or leave a sort of message on it with duct tape and a large piece of paper. Make sure the message is clear and large enough for the disposal company to read when they arrive.

Another way to differentiate the now trashed can from the other trash cans still in commission is simply making the can unusable. Find a way to crush or compact the can so it takes up less space and let the trash company know that the now useless can belongs with the other articles of waste.

However, you still might want to label it as trash just so the company knows that the can was initially intended to be thrown away and not destroyed intentionally by someone else before they arrived. If you have access to a dumpster large enough to place the trash can inside, you can simply toss it in with the other trash. You likely will not need to damage the can if you do this.

Sell It

I am willing to bet that anything that can be used by someone else can be sold for cold hard cash. Simply put it up for sale online or at a neighborhood sale of sorts. Just be sure to place it anywhere else but the front of your house or near where you drop off your garbage so people know that it is for sale. You could also sell it online on Facebook Marketplace or eBay.

Before you sell your garbage can, clean it thoroughly so it doesn’t smell bad.

Reuse It

The versatility of the trash can is almost without limit. Seriously, if Spike Lee is able to give a simple trash can the power to end a cycle of dangerous hatred and racial violence, what can’t be done with a trash can? Movie references aside, there are a number of things that a garbage can is able to be used for besides its original function. If you use your imagination, the container functionality can be used to hold a number of other objects besides garbage. Just be sure to clean it out with soap and water first.

If you want to reuse it in a more creative manner, you could always use the can as a sort of instrument. Heck, there are entire music groups that specialize in using objects such as this as percussion. Just be sure not to cause a noise disturbance in your neighborhood and have your neighbors file a noise complaint. As cool as a trash-themed percussion group sounds, it is best that you find a good place to rehearse that does not disturb others.

My parents used an old garbage can that could be sealed closed to store our emergency supplies.

Recycle It

Green arrows recycle eco symbol vector illustration isolated on white background. Recycled sign. Cycle recycled icon. Recycled materials symbol.

Now, it is not recommended that you try fitting your trash can into a recycling bin. However, there are certain businesses that specialize in recycling metal. Take your metal can to this place and they will take care of the rest. Who knows? The aluminum in that can might be used in soda cans next. That may not be an appealing thought, but it is better for the environment than other options.

Melt It

By finding a location where you can recycle the metal from the previous example, you will likely also have access to a sort of machine that melts the metal into an entirely different shape. Of course, this method will only work if your trash can is made of metal. If your trash can is made of plastic, as most seem to be made of nowadays, the only way you can repurpose the plastic is by taking it to a place that specializes in plastic recycling.

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