A waste container (known more commonly in British English as a dustbin and American English as a trash can) is a container, which can be made out of metal or plastic, used to store refuse. Other names include rubbish bin, litter bin, trash barrel, garbage can and trash bin. Indoor bins are traditionally kept in the kitchen to dispose of culinary excess such as fruit peelings or food packets, although there are also wastepaper baskets or wastebaskets which are used in offices to dispose of waste paper and other office refuse.
Most bins have lids on the top to seal in the odor 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, which keep the bin itself clean, facilitate the removal of the garbage and allows disposal with minimal contact to the contents. A common practice is to place multiple bags in each bin once a day so that one can empty the container by removing the bag and not have to replace it, speeding up the process.
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 flavors: trash cans (metallic receptacles often made of tin or steel), dumpsters (large receptacles similar to skips) and wheelie bins (light, usually plastic bins that are mobile). All of these are emptied by collectors, who will load the contents into a garbage truck and drive it to a landfill, incinerator or waste sorting facility to be disposed of. Trash and recycling cans are often separated by type
In some areas there is also a recycling service, often with one or more dedicated bins intended to receive items that can be recycled into new products. These bins are separated into different categories (usually represented by colors) which determine what materials can be inserted into the bin. The most common materials used for recycling are paper, glass, metal, plastics and "green waste" (compost material, either garden waste or food scraps or both). The contents of the bins are taken to a recycling plant to be processed, and there are various systems for recycling bin collection: single bin combined stream systems, multiple bin systems, and cyclic collections with different materials collected on different days.
Certain public areas such as parks have litter bins which are placed alongside paths frequently walked by visitors. This encourages people to avoid littering, which create an unhealthy and aesthetically unpleasant social environment.
Bins in outdoor locations or other busy public areas are usually mounted to the ground or wall. This discourages theft, and also reduces vandalism by making it harder for someone to physically move or maneuver the bins; to spill their contents on the ground for example, or to use the bin as a weapon. Since the 1995 terror bombings in France, public trashcans have largely been replaced by transparent plastic bags, in which it is difficult to hide a bomb.
In the past terrorists have left improvised explosive devices in bins. The bomb is much less likely to be spotted than an unattended bag and the metal bins provide extra shrapnel that injures people nearby when it detonates. For this reason there are no bins in most railway stations, most airports, and many shopping centers in the United Kingdom, or if they are provided they are just a bin bag hanging from a metal loop.
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.