7 Creative Ways to Use Your Outdoor Garbage Cans

Having bought a new trash can, are you wondering what to do with the old one? Garbage bins are often built of sturdy materials so they do not wear or damage. But, with new and trendy varieties available, you are often swayed by the design, quality, or style.

Moreover, sometimes government rules may require you to buy outdoor garbage cans. This is to ensure they are compatible with the collection vehicles. So, if you have unused outdoor garbage cans, it is possible to use them in different ways. Here are some creative ideas you can try. These ideas can turn your outdoor waste receptacles into useful household items.

What Is the Purpose of a Trash Can?

Garbage containers form a vital part of the living environment. You can maintain a clean home with these trash receptacles.  With clean surroundings, you need not worry about the garbage causing a health risk.

Durable materials like metal, plastic, concrete, etc. are used for making the bins.  These Trash containers can withstand harsh weather conditions and animal attacks. 

With the high-quality material used for such trash receptacles, you can easily repurpose them. Here are a few concepts, which you can try in your home. Use them to turn your unused trash cans into useful household items.

Creative Idea #1- Rainwater Collection

You can convert your old or discarded outdoor garbage bin into a barrel for collecting rainwater. The saved water helps in many ways, such as watering your garden. With a bit of effort, you can turn it into a rain barrel with a faucet for using the water as needed. The steps needed are very simple.

  • Carve a hole a few inches from the bottom of the container.
  • Thread a metal washer and rubber washer onto the faucet, insert them into the hole in the barrel, and place another rubber washer on the inner side.
  • Use locknut to secure the faucet to the barrel using pliers.
  • Use a screen to cover the container, carve a hole in the lid, and place it over the screen.
  • By placing the barrel under a water spout, the water will enter the bin directly.

You would have to spend a large amount of money on setting up a rainwater collection structure. But, with the above method, you get to spend less and save the trash can from ending up in the landfill. Remember to use a large-sized outdoor bin for this purpose. The large size helps you collect more water during a heavy downpour.

Creative Idea #2- Compost Bin

If your trash bin has a tear or hole in it, this idea will serve you best. Or, you can drill holes in a plastic can. If you have a metal or stainless steel trash receptacle with holes in it, it will work as well. Holes in the container help in air circulation, which aid in composting. The lid should lock well.

Make sure the compost is moist and you keep turning the compost once in two weeks. Place the can on its side and roll it to turn the compost. You can find several tutorials online on making compost, which will help you do the process the right way.

Creative Idea #3 - Storage for Animal Food

Buying food in large quantities is cheaper and saves frequent trips to the store. This is true for animal feed too. But, once opened, you need to store the unused food properly. If left outside, rats can get into the food and contaminate it.

Further, moisture can seep inside and rot the food. Sometimes even your pets can damage the food bags. With large plastic garbage receptacles, you can store your pet food safely.

Creative Idea #4 - Store Your Equipment

For any equipment you use in your home that is too long or unwieldy, you can try the trash can as storage space.

Household items that are difficult to store away, such as brooms, mops, etc, will easily fit inside tall trash bins. Garbage bins are also perfect storing spaces for gardening tools such as rakes, shovels, hoses, etc. and sports equipment like rackets, frisbees, bats, and clubs.

These bins also serve as storage space for firewood, charcoal, and other such messy items. In fact, dustbins can store any item in bulk as they are durable and tall.

Creative Idea #5 - As Furniture

You can use sturdy trash cans as decorative furniture, such as a table by adding a round wood piece to it. Make sure you fasten the wood to the bin using screws or an adhesive.

You can use concrete waste bin models, like the Wausau Tile Concrete trash receptacle, as patio or yard furniture. With some bright paint, these cans will add a cool look to your home.

Creative idea #6 - For Planting

This is the easiest way you can repurpose your trash can.  Before you start using the container, make sure it is made of food-grade plastic. The method is very simple. Fill the container with soil and compost or fertilizer. Your planter is ready to use.

Depending on the size of the bin, you can choose which plant you want to grow. For instance, large-sized cans are suitable for potatoes. You can begin planting at a lower level and fill the container as the plant grows. Harvesting is easier if you cut one of the sides and make the piece into a removable type.

Creative Idea #7 - For Recycling

The durable and recyclable plastic cans you do not use anymore can be sent for recycling. But, the outdoor bins may have to be carried separately if they do not fit in the regular collection truck. Instead, why not use your garbage box for collecting recyclable materials?

Separating recycling materials is a difficult task. But, you can do it in a breeze if you assign the garbage containers to different recycling items. For instance, collect the soda cans in one and glass bottles in another. In the same way, you can even segregate the items you donate, such as your books, clothes, toys, etc.


There are various ways to repurpose and use outdoor garbage cans. When thrown away, the cans end up in recycling or landfills. Try some of the ideas listed above. With some creativity, you can use these containers to bring in much-needed changes to your surroundings. From saving rainwater to growing plants you can contribute towards a nature-friendly earth.