The Kitchen Trash Can Dilemma

The Kitchen Trash Can Dilemma

Trash.  Sounds like a dirty word, huh?  Perhaps you give little thought to your trash can, but if you’re building or remodeling, you may want to give this topic some attention.  Where should you put your trash can in your kitchen?  

Why is the Location of Your Trash Can Important?

Let’s face it.  Trash is smelly and gross, and some of us produce quite a lot of it.  Therefore, finding the best location for trash in your kitchen is actually pretty important.  Should you tuck it in a corner?  Hide it behind cabinetry?  This is obviously a personal preference, but after having had a standing trash can in the corner and a hidden trash can, I figured I’d give you my honest opinion.  

What is the Best Place for a Kitchen Trash Can

Choosing a convenient location for your trash can is a big deal when you’re cooking.  How many of you have had white paper or plastic wrap dripping with blood from raw ground beef?  Or slimy raw chicken juice running off of the package?  Gross!  If your trash can is far away from your workspace, you may find yourself scrambling, or you just give up and dump it all in the sink until you can get enough paper towels to clean up the mess.  Sound familiar?  

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Trash Can

  • How large should your trash can be?
  • Do you need a separate can or section for recycling?
  • Do you want to see your trash can or hide it?

Types of Trash Cans to Choose From

  • Pull-out bin that is built into your cabinetry and hidden from view
  • Free standing can that sits in a cabinet
  • Unlidded can
  • Lift top
  • Swing top
  • Tilt-out can
  • Step-to-lift
  • Voice activated/motion sensor

Why to not Hide Your Kitchen Trash Can

Now that you know what to consider and you know the types of trash cans that are available, what is the best kitchen trash can for you?  We had pull-out cans hidden behind cabinet doors in our last two houses, and guess what?  I would never do it again.  Surprised?  Most people seem to prefer to hide their trash can, but I don’t, and here’s why:

  • It’s a nice look, but ends up being unsanitary.  Trash invariably lands behind the can, way back in the cabinet.  
  • The inside of the can ends up being splattered with food.
  • The inside of the cabinet ends up being splattered with food.
  • If you have a door that opens with a pull-out bin behind it, be prepared for the door to hit the hinge because someone forgets to push the bin all the way in.  The result?  The inside of your cabinet door gets gouged.  
  • There is never enough room for recycling and trash, even with a divided can, or with one behind the other.  You will sacrifice size if that is important to you.
  • If you use two full-size cans, you will lose other cabinet space.
  • Trash smells.  I prefer not to have stinky odors trapped inside my cabinet or wafting out.

Free Standing Trash Can Options

  • Most (but not all) are unsightly.  
  • Unlidded:  who wants to look at and smell trash?  
  • Swing top:  just yuck.  You will always have food dirt smears on the top.
  • Lift top:  Still touching the can.  
  • Step-to-lift:  keep it away from the wall, or you’ll whack the wall with the lid and scratch up your paint.
  • Voice activated/motion sensor:  now you’re talkin’!

Our Kitchen Trash Can Solution

The SimpleHuman 58L Rectangular Sensor Can with voice and motion control.

The SimpleHuman 58L Rectangular Sensor Can with voice and motion control.

Benefits of The SimpleHuman 58L Rectangular Sensor Can

  • Sleek design
  • No mess
  • Specially fitted trash bags
  • Perfect size; large and roomy


The SimpleHuman 58L Rectangular Sensor Can is available as just a trash can or divided for recycling.  

  • To open the can, simply say, “Open can” or just wave your hand in front of the sensor.  It works like a charm every time!  
  • Available in brushed stainless steel (what we have), rose gold, black, or white.  Goes with virtually any decor.
  • The specially fitted trash bags fit under the rim, so there is no way for food or trash to sneak under the bag.
  • Can be used with batteries, or plugged into an outlet.  Since our house was a new build, we planned for an outlet behind the can.  Ours stays plugged in at all times.
  • Since you never have to touch the can, except to change the bag, it’s always clean.
  • The specially fitted bags are stored inside the can, so all you have to do once you take out the full bag is to pull out another.  So convenient!
  • Not inexpensive, but well-worth the $200.00
  • Tucks nicely in a corner.

After having our SimpleHuman 58L Rectangular Sensor Can, we cannot imagine our kitchen without it.  Whether you choose a built-in that can be hidden behind cabinets, or another type of trash can, we wanted to give you some good information that you may have otherwise not considered.  What do you think?  We’d love to hear from you!  

Until next time…

From the HartLand with love,

Monica, Cheyenne & Brittany

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