The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







A dustbin is a container used to store refuse, can be made out of metal or plastic¹. Indoor bins are traditionally kept in the kitchen² to dispose of culinary excess such as fruit peelings or food packets, although there are also wastepaper baskets (sometimes called circular files) which are used in offices to dispose of (obviously) waste paper.

Most bins have lids on the top to seal in the smell that trash tends to emit. Though most have to be opened manually, indoor bins sometimes have pedals which open the lid when stepped on.

Indoor bins are traditionally lined with bin bags&sup3, which keeps the bin itself clean, facilitates the removal of the garbage and allows disposal with minimal contact to the contents.

Rubbish is usually kept in these receptacles until full, at which point they are transferred via the aforementioned bin bags to an outside receptacle, or simply to the roadside. The curbside dustbins usually consist of three flavours: trash cans, dumpsters (large receptacles similar to skips) and wheelie bins (light, usually plastic bins that are mobile). All of these are emptied by garbage men, who will dump the contents into the back of a garbage truck and drive it to a landfill or incinerator to be disposed of.

There is also the recycling bin, a version of the traditional bin designed to receive items that can be recycled into new products. These bins are separated into different catagories (usually represented by colours) which determine what can be inserted into the bin, for example glass, paper, plastic etc. The contents of this bin are then taken to a recycling plant to be processed.

Certain public areas such as parks have litter bins which are placed alongside paths frequently walked by visitors. This is for encouraging people to avoid littering, which creates an unhealthy and aesthetically unpleasing social environment.

Apartment buildings often have garbage chutes in which residents can dispose of their trash. These chutes usually lead to some large receptacle in the basement.

¹ In the American English usage, waste receptacles made of metal are most commonly referred to as "garbage cans" or "trash cans", as the word "can" generally refers to a container made out of metal. The word "bin" or "dustbin" is more ambiguous as to the material used, but is favored (in some regions) if the material is plastic. ² Sometimes a bin can simply be referred to as "the garbage" or "the trash", such as when one might ask "Where's the garbage at?" in an unfamiliar kitchen. ³ "Bin bags" as described above are also known as "garbage bags," "trash bags," "bin liners," or "can liners."

Last updated: 08-19-2005 15:35:31
Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46