Normal Kitchen Trash Can Size: Understanding Your Options

Last updated on April 12, 2024

Discover what size trash can fits best for the average kitchen, ensuring practical waste management and space efficiency.

Key takeaways:

  • Small trash cans (7-10 gallons) are perfect for single residents or those with limited space.
  • Medium-sized bins (12-16 gallons) are ideal for average families and offer a balance between space and practicality.
  • High-capacity options (20-30 gallons) are great for larger families or frequent entertainers.
  • Consider your household size, cooking habits, and waste disposal habits when choosing the right size.
  • Recycling or compost bins can reduce the need for a larger trash can.

What's Inside

Standard Kitchen Trash Can Sizes

standard kitchen trash can sizes

When it comes to the different capacities available, there’s a range to suit all kinds of households. A small trash can, ranging from 7 to 10 gallons, is a compact option perfect for single residents or those with limited space. It tucks away neatly in tighter spots and requires less frequent emptying for someone producing less waste.

Moving up the size chart, we have medium-sized bins, holding between 12 and 16 gallons. These are the go-to for average families. They balance adequate space for daily waste without being an eyesore or taking up too much room in a modestly-sized kitchen.

For larger families or those who love to entertain, a high-capacity option of 20 to 30 gallons is ideal. These accommodate more refuse between bags, making them convenient for busy households. Remember, though, larger bins need appropriate space—so be sure your kitchen can house them comfortably before taking the plunge.

Small (7-10 Gallons)

Optimal for single residents or couples, a smaller trash bin strikes the right balance between practicality and footprint. These compact models are especially suited for apartments or homes where kitchen space is at a premium. They can easily fit under the sink or in a narrow space beside the refrigerator, keeping waste out of sight while also being easily accessible.

Without the need for frequent emptying, they’re a smart choice for those who generate less waste or who prioritize regular disposal for minimizing odors. These bins also work well for separating recyclables from general waste if you’re inclined towards sorting at the source.

For users who cook less frequently or rely more on composting, this size ensures you aren’t investing in a larger, unused bin. Remember, smaller bins do necessitate more frequent emptying, which can be a good habit to maintain a clean kitchen environment.

Medium (12-16 Gallons)

For families who find the small-sized bins just aren’t cutting it, or single individuals who love to entertain, a medium-sized trash can is the sweet spot. These models, ranging from 12 to 16 gallons, have enough room to handle the daily disposals of a three to four-person household comfortably. They are just right for striking a balance between not having to take the trash out too frequently and not letting it sit long enough to invite odors.

When shopping for this category, consider how much you cook at home and the types of waste you’re discarding. If you’re an avid recycler or composter, these bins can typically accommodate a day or two’s worth of non-recyclable or non-compostable kitchen waste before needing to be emptied. They’re sized to be tucked away easily, whether inside a cabinet or standing discreetly in a corner, and they’re generally more manageable when full than their larger counterparts.

Remember, medium-sized trash cans offer the flexibility to be paired with recycling bins of a similar size for an efficient waste management system. This size also opens up a wider range of styles and features, such as foot pedals for hands-free operation or locking lids to keep pets out. They can still be effortlessly lined with standard 13-gallon kitchen trash bags, a common size available at most retailers, making them a convenient choice for hassle-free bag changes.

Large (20-30 Gallons)

If you have a bustling household or throw frequent dinner parties, accommodating the waste without constant trips to the outdoor bin is a priority. A 20-30 gallon trash can is a workhorse, designed for larger families or spaces where cooking is a daily grand event.

These sizable units can typically hold a week’s worth of waste for a household of four—quite convenient if your curbside pickup is less frequent. However, do consider the available space in your kitchen, as these will occupy a larger footprint. If you’re limited on floor space, look for sleeker designs or those intended to fit in specific kitchen spots.

When considering a larger trash can, it’s also smart to think about the liner bags. These will need to be larger and more durable to handle the weight and volume of waste, which might mean a slightly higher cost in the long run. On the bright side, some modern large trash cans come with compartments for easy separation of recyclables or compost, which could make managing waste easier and more environmentally friendly.

Remember, a larger can doesn’t have to mean a sacrifice in style. Plenty of designs are available that can blend with your kitchen’s aesthetic, from stainless steel to custom panel-ready options that integrate seamlessly with your cabinetry.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Size

Assessing the number of people in your household is key. A single person or a couple might find a small trash can ample, whereas a family of four or more will likely require a medium to large option. Think about your cooking habits too. Frequent home cooking can mean more food packaging and leftovers.

Don’t forget to factor in how often you prefer to take out the trash. If the idea of daily trips to the dumpster doesn’t appeal to you, a larger can might be the way to go. However, if space is tight in your kitchen, a smaller, more frequent emptying schedule might be more practical.

Consider your waste disposal habits as well. If you actively recycle, compost, or both, the size of your trash can might be smaller since you’re diverting much of your waste. Compatible recycling or compost bins can handle the overflow and reduce the frequency of trash disposal trips.

Remember, choosing the right trash can size optimizes efficiency and maintains the aesthetics and functionality of your kitchen space. It’s all about balancing personal habits with practicality.

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