The Best Recycling Bins for Every Kitchen

These bins will make recycling more convenient without detracting from your kitchen decor.

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Best Recycling Bins

Food & Wine / David Hattan

When trying to live more sustainably, one of the first steps many people take is recycling. Recycling, however, requires a bit of know-how before you start, like checking on what your recycling service will take and what you need to get recyclables ready. Plus, maintaining a sustainable lifestyle includes choosing the right trash can for your needs as well as composting when you're able. Whether you're a veteran recycler or just learning the ropes, we share our favorites for a range of lifestyles and needs, from under-cabinet models to recycling bins stylish enough to be a seamless addition to your kitchen.

Best Overall

mDesign Steel 16-Gallon Dual Compartment Step Trash Can

mDesign Steel 16-Gallon Dual Compartment Step Trash Can

This mDesign 16-gallon (60-liter) step can is made from durable steel, with your choice of five finishes that are attractive enough to sit front and center in your kitchen. Its large size can hold up to 16 gallons of recyclables, while still taking up a modest footprint. You can use its two bins to separate recyclables by type, or you can designate one for trash. We love that it has interior bins with handles, which makes taking trash and recycling out a breeze (and makes cleaning a breeze, too). 

Price at time of publish: $189

  • Capacity: 16 gallons
  • Dimensions: 14.17 x 23 x 25.6 inches
  • Materials: Steel, plastic

Best Value

mDesign Plastic Small Trash Can

mDesign Plastic Small Trash Can


If you're looking for an attractive recycling bin without a hefty price tag, check out the mDesign plastic small trash can, which, of course, can double as a recycling bin. While affordable bins used to skimp on style (think of those standard-issue white plastic rectangles), today's options balance good looks and a good price. This one’s plastic build is sturdy and easy to clean and comes in over a dozen colors. As it’s on the small side, it would be a good option to buy two or three to keep materials separate.  

Price at time of publish: $19

  • Capacity: 2.5 gallons
  • Dimensions: ‎10.88 x 7 x 12 inches
  • Materials: Plastic

Best Splurge

Brabantia Bo Touch Top Trash Can

Brabantia Bo Touch Top Trash Can


This bin’s durability, large capacity, and sleek design make it worth the higher cost if you're looking for a bin that will last for years. We love its touch-top lid that sits flush with the rest of the top of the unit. It also comes in multiple colors, making it easy to match your kitchen. It also has a removable inner liner bucket – one of our favorite features of recycling bins, as it makes it easier to keep a handle on odors and mess. 

Price at time of publish: $231

  • Capacity: 16 gallons
  • Dimensions: 21.46 x 12.28 x 25.83 inches
  • Materials: Stainless steel, plastic

Most Stylish

Brabantia Bo Recycling/Garbage Can

Brabantia Bo Recycling/Garbage Can

Williams Sonoma

With its angled legs and gently curved edges, a nod to midcentury styling, this bin is not just a place to store your recyclables: it's a conversation starter. As functional as it is beautiful, this Brabantia Bo model has a touch-top lid, plus a plastic inner bucket for carrying your recycling from bin to curb (especially helpful in areas that don't allow recycling to be put in bags). It comes in a range of colors, too, from bright red to sage green to more conventional steel and black.

Price at time of publish: $196

  • Capacity: 9.5 gallons
  • Dimensions: 12.4 x 21.26 x 26.77 inches
  • Materials: Plastic

Best with Trash Can

Ninestars Automatic Touchless Infrared Sensor Trash Can/Recycler

Ninestars Automatic Touchless Infrared Sensor Trash Can/Recycler


Choosing a recycling and trash bin setup gives your kitchen waste disposal a cohesive look, and the attractive, sturdy design of this bin will hold up to a lot of use. While there are many two-in-one setups on the market, we like this bin set because it holds a decent amount of recycling (and trash) without taking up too much floor space. Stickers for recyclables and “other waste” will help your household and guests know which side is which, but you can move them to the inside of the lid or remove them altogether. We also love that it opens with a touchless sensor.

Price at time of publish: $73

  • Capacity: 18.5 gallons
  • Dimensions: 13 x 21.3 x 26.2 inches
  • Materials: Stainless steel, plastic

Best Rolling

Yamakazi Home Concealed Rolling Trash Sorter

Yamakazi Home Concealed Rolling Trash Sorter


No need to carry bags far with the Yamakazi Home rolling trash sorter. This compact, easy-access model can sit almost unnoticed under a counter or desk, and it holds two bags for sorting materials. Japanese-designed and Scandinavian-inspired, its sleek all-white design is complete with a practical wooden handle and white wheels (two standard swivel casters and two locking swivel casters) for moving it from the kitchen to the door.

Price at time of publish: $95

  • Capacity: 13 gallons
  • Dimensions: 14.17 x 13.58 x 21.65 inches
  • Materials: Steel, wood

Best Stackable

Joseph Joseph Totem Max 60L Waste & Recycling Bin

Joseph Joseph 30060 Intelligent Waste Totem


The Intelligent Waste Totem from Joseph Joseph goes tall, not wide, giving you plenty of capacity without taking up a ton of floor space. It includes two eight-gallon bins: one for recycling and one for trash, along with a small removable compost bin to easily collect compostable materials to add to your compost bin. We love its brushed steel exterior and eye-catching red-orange interior. More than that, we love its odor-reducing carbon filter, which sits in the lid to cut down on smells from a stinky garbage can. It comes with a 10-year filter, meaning you'll get plenty of use out of this stackable set before you have to think about replacing it. 

Price at time of publish: $122

  • Capacity: 60 liters
  • Dimensions: 15.35 x 14.5 x 32 inches
  • Materials: Stainless steel, aluminum, plastic

Best Small

Kohler Step-on Kitchen Trash Can

Kohler Step-on Kitchen Trash Can


Building a sustainable recycling habit is possible even in the smallest kitchens thanks to this Kohler kitchen trash can. This small-but-mighty bin doesn't skimp on quality or aesthetics. We love its step-to-open functionality, and that the lid closes quietly. It’s easy to clean (especially important for a white recycling bin!) and can hold a good amount of recyclables with its 13-gallon capacity. The can itself is a bit heavy at almost 19 pounds, but this isn't an issue once it's in place.

Price at time of publish: $140

  • Capacity: 13 gallons
  • Dimensions: ‎16.81 x 13 x 26.44 inches
  • Materials: Stainless steel, plastic

Bet Under Counter

simplehuman Dual Compartment Under Counter Pull-Out Can

simplehuman Dual Compartment Under Counter Pull-Out and Trash Cans


Looking to keep your recycling bin out of sight, but not out of mind? If you have a small space or just want to keep your bin tucked away from kids and pets, an under-counter bin is a great choice. These two bins fit inside a rolling, pull-out track and slide out 16 inches from the cabinet for easy access. We also recommend them for their durability and how easy they are to clean. Installation is simple – just make sure you measure your cabinets before you buy to ensure the right fit.

Price at time of publish: $79

  • Capacity: 35 liters
  • Dimensions: 18.12 x 9.75 x 19.12 inches
  • Materials: Chrome, plastic

Our Favorite

The mDesign Metal Steel 16-Gallon Dual Compartment Step Trash Can is durable, easy to clean, and attractive enough to sit front and center in your kitchen. It can hold an ample amount of recyclables while allowing for easy sorting with its two bins. 

The Research

To find the best recycling bins for your kitchen, we reviewed product specifications, compared features, and spoke to experts to find recycling bins that are attractive, easy to use, and fit a variety of kitchens. 

Factors to Consider


When thinking about capacity, think about the size of your space and how much use you expect your bin to see. If you've got a small space with one person, consider more compact options. For a big family, you may need a bigger bin. If you're still short on space, consider tall, slender styles of bins or empty the bin more frequently. 


What features will make your bin easy to use and work with your lifestyle? Maybe you'd like a lidded bin, one that will fit into a cabinet, or a two-in-one trash and recycling setup. Whatever your needs, think about where you'll put it and how you'll use it.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What goes in a recycling bin?

    If you're not sure, the first step is to check your local recycling guidelines, according to waste management expert Gabi Madrid. “Some cities have facilities to recycle plastic, cardboard, and aluminum cans, while others lack the means to recycle items like glass and other metal. The items going into the recycle bin should follow local guidelines and suggested practices," says Madrid.

    "The easy answer to what goes into the recycling bin is as follows: clean plastics, paper, glass, and metal. But it's not that simple. An item marked with a triangle and a number doesn't mean it's recyclable. Rather, it is an indicator of the type of material it's made from. These are known as resin identification codes. Number one plastic means it's polyethylene terephthalate, which is what most water bottles and food containers are made of and often the most common type of plastic to be recycled. But, the plastic must be completely clean with no food residue and labels removed."

  • What can you not put in a recycling bin?

    "The list of items that don't belong varies on the local waste management,” says Madrid. “The most common items that should never go in the recycling bin are food scraps, wood, clothing, batteries, garbage bags, furniture, and chemicals. There are centers that specialize in recycling hard-to-recycle materials. New York City has Special Waste Drop-Off Sites that accept tires, batteries, paint, and electronics. There is the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) in Atlanta, Ga., which accepts styrofoam, mattresses, and household chemicals like bleach and pesticides. Please consider finding out more about local centers near you that accept hard-to-recycle items."

  • Where should you put a recycling bin in the kitchen?

    Convenience is key when deciding where to put a recycling bin: consider a spot that's in easy reach but out of the way (don't put your bin in walkways or in front of a cabinet, for example). If you've got curious kids and pets in your home, consider investing in one that you can tuck into a cabinet or pantry to keep it out of hands' (or paws') reach. 

    "One of the contributing factors for items not being recycled is that it's not convenient. If your waste container is in the kitchen and your recycling bin is outside around the corner of the house then it's likely it'll be thrown away. However, by having the recycling bin next to the trash can it will be a reminder to dispose of it in the correct receptacle," says Madrid. "When looking for a recycling bin to add to your kitchen you should consider whether having it will encourage you to properly recycle. Perhaps having a recycling bin with the accepted items printed on it will assist in deciding if something belongs there or in the trash."

  • How do you clean a recycling bin?

    Cleaning your recycling bin is similar to cleaning your kitchen trash can. Many municipalities do not accept plastic bags for recycling, which means you may not be able to use a bag in your recycling bin like you would in your trash can. There are, however, a couple of ways to cut down on the mess. The first is following recycling guidelines that call for clean recyclables. If you get in the habit of washing your recyclables clean before popping them into the bin, you'll keep the bin much cleaner, too.

    "Recycling bins should also be easy to empty and clean. Pro tip: clean using a hose or sink sprayer for easy cleaning," says Madrid. When you need a deeper clean, start by hosing out any particulates. Then, spray down with your favorite all-purpose cleaner and scrub with a brush or sponge (or, you can even buy a new toilet brush just for this task). Give it another rinse clean, then allow it to dry.

Our Expertise

Julia Skinner, Ph.D., is a culinary educator, food writer, and founder of Root, Atlanta's fermentation and food history company. She regularly writes books and articles, as well as a weekly food-focused newsletter. Gabi Madrid is a multi-disciplinary artist and environmental advocate with an extensive background in waste management and recycling, including public speaking on recycling and plastic pollution.

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