Call to action: better trash cans needed. When my next-door neighbor Felicity asked me where to find good-looking recycling bins, I spent days trying to solve the riddle. Everybody recycles—and every community has its own requirements and regulations—but somehow the design world has been slow to respond to this household need. Built-in compartmentalized trash cans are the most seamless approach, but not always a viable option. For those like Felicity in need of bins, here are 10 tidy, compartmentalized choices (plus one prototype):
Above: The metal 4 Bin Cupboard from Manufactum is €167; it's also available as a 2-Bin Cupboard for €121. Each bin holds 13.5 liters. And yes we realize that there's an irony built into creating more plastic for the sake of recycling—but so far, there are few alternatives on the market.
Above: Made in Germany by the venerable Westermann & Co, Wesco Recycling Big Double Boy Bin has a stainless steel lid and step pedal, and a powder-coated steel exterior that holds two 4.75 gallon bins. It's also available in red, black, and almond; £199.99 from Binopolis. N.B.: Wesco's Single Boy 3.4 Gallon Trash Can (with a single 3.4 gallon liner) is $129.95 at Crate & Barrel. For more on Wesco, see our post The Mercedes of Trash Bins.
Above: SimpleHuman's sturdy 48-Liter Steel Bar Recycler is made of fingerprint-proof stainless steel with a reinforced steel step bar, a silent-close lid, and two inner buckets; $250.
Above: Created by British industrial designer Samuel Wilkinson—co-designer of the Plumen 001 (aka The World's Most Stylish Light Bulb)—these Recycle Bins are a prototype made of powder-coated aluminum prototype detailed in three shades of green. Notes Wilkinson, "Each bin fits standard tall paper bags that can be used until recycled themselves." We hope the design goes into production soon.
Above: For those with available cabinet space, pull-out trash cans are a good, out-of-sight option.The SimpleHuman 35-Liter Under-Counter Pull-Out Recycler has twin cans, a chromed steel frame, and commercial-grade tracks; $80 from SimpleHuman.
Above: The Rev-A-Shelf Pull-Out Top Mount Waste & Recycling Bins unit, with four 27-quart containers, is $157.93 from KitchenSource.com.
Above: The 2-Bin PIvoting Recycler from the Container Store is made of steel and can be secured to a wall for stability. It's 30 3/4 inches tall, 11 inches wide, and 13 inches deep; $179.
Above: The Hailo Eco Duo Rubbish Separator is a made of coated stainless steel by European company Hailo, which has been manufacturing trash cans and ladders since 1947. The pedal-operated can has two inner compartments and is available in stainless or 12 colors. The interior bins are green and brown plastic. It's available on Amazon UK for £50.73.
Above L: Muji's narrow polypropylene PP Dust Box with Lid (21 inches tall and 8 inches wide) works well for tight spaces; $25.25. Above R: The bins can be stacked using Muji's Steel Dust Stand ($22.50). The PP Dust Box with Lid is $19.95 for the small size (shown on top) and $25.25 for large (bottom).
Above: The Neu Home 2 Compartment Step-on Recycling Bin is made of stainless steel and has two lids for twin 20-liter bins; $116.49 from Casa.
Above: Takiro Yuta PRIMO Recycling Unit for Dieffebbi has three bins and a bottom compartment for storing garbage bags. It comes in white, aluminum, and gray, and has a glass top for easy cleaning. For pricing, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The most beautiful trash cans in the world? See The Last Trash Can You'll Ever Buy and Trash Bins from a Cleanliness-Obsessed Nation. For more kitchens ideas, browse our favorite Kitchen Designs in our Photo Gallery.