Garbage Cans or Recycle Bins

What To Do With Old Trash Cans

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In times of emergencies, it is crucial to be prepared and have the necessary supplies readily available. One often overlooked item that can be repurposed for emergency preparedness is a trash can. While it may seem unconventional, old trash cans can serve a variety of useful purposes during emergencies. If you’re into prepping and emergency preparedness, this is what to do with old trash cans!

What To Do With Old Trash Cans

1. Water Storage

One of the most essential items during an emergency is a reliable source of clean drinking water. When the water supply is limited, repurposing old trash cans as water storage containers can be smart.

Before using a trash can for water storage, ensure it is clean and sanitized. Fill it with water from a safe source, such as tap water, and cover it tightly to prevent contamination. Having a few extra gallons of stored water can provide peace of mind during emergencies. Creative Water Storage Solutions for Emergencies 

I personally would only use this water for personal hygiene, not for drinking or cooking. I’m just giving you the heads up, here. You can also use the trash cans as a rain barrel. No reason to let the water from your roof run off your property and down the gutter drain. Be sure to check with your local agency about sewer and water control since some locations won’t allow you to collect your own water. That’s strange to me.

2. Food Storage

In addition to water, having a good supply of non-perishable food is important during an emergency. Old trash cans can be repurposed as food storage containers, some providing airtight protection against pests and helping to keep the shelf life of food items good. This tip is a really good one for knowing what to do with old trash cans!

Place sealed food packages, such as canned goods or individually wrapped snacks, inside the trash can and secure the lid tightly. This method can help keep your emergency food supply organized and protected. How To Store Your Food Storage

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Please be aware if the trash cans are thin plastic, rodents will chew through them. I know for a fact raccoons will tear through almost anything.

3. Waste Disposal

During emergencies, proper waste disposal becomes even more important to maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of diseases. If regular waste management services are disrupted, repurposing old trash cans as temporary waste bins can help keep your living area clean and sanitary.

Line the trash can with a heavy-duty garbage or trash bag and dispose of waste properly. Remember to seal the bag tightly to prevent odors and keep pests away. Top Emergency Toilet Options

They can also be used as a recycling bin. Some municipalities don’t have regular recycling pick-up available. Place what you want recycled in the bin and take the contents to the recycling center facilities near you when full.

4. Emergency Kit Container

Having a well-stocked emergency kit is essential for preparedness. Old trash cans can be repurposed as containers to hold and organize your emergency supplies. From first aid kits to flashlights, gather all the necessary items and place them inside the trash can.

This method ensures that your emergency supplies are easily accessible, organized, and protected from damage. Label the can accordingly for quick identification during times of crisis. What Are 20 Basic Items in an Emergency Kit?

5. Rainwater Harvesting

As mentioned above, when water sources are scarce, using old trash cans for rainwater harvesting can prove helpful. Place the trash cans outside to collect rainwater. Ensure that the trash cans are clean and positioned securely to catch as much rainwater as possible.

Stored rainwater can be used for non-potable purposes such as flushing toilets or watering plants, helping to conserve precious water resources during emergencies. How to Use Rain Water at Home

6. Temporary Shelter

In certain circumstances, when shelter is not available, repurposing old trash cans as temporary shelters can provide some form of protection.

While it may not be a luxurious option, a trash can can serve as a makeshift shelter for small pets or as a last resort for someone seeking temporary refuge.

You’ll want to make sure that the trash can is clean and lined with blankets or other insulating materials to provide some level of comfort. What You Need in Your Evacuation Shelter Bags

Some other uses for old trash cans are:

  • A compost bin – place grass clippings, raked leaves, food scraps, mulch, and other items in the trash cans and store them until needed.
  • Use them to store things that are often scattered around your garage or basement. That might include sports equipment and garden tools like rakes and shovels.
  • You could use the cans to hold firewood, project scrap metal pieces, or pet food and/or pet supplies.
  • Consider using the trash cans as a large planter with seedlings for growth until they are ready to be planted in your vegetable or flower garden.
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How can I prevent pests from getting into my trash can?

Pests like raccoons, rats, and flies are attracted to the smell of garbage. To keep them out, make sure your trash can has a secure lid that fits tightly. Avoid leaving the trash can out overnight and consider using pest repellents or placing ammonia-soaked rags near the can to deter pests.

I lived in the desert a few years ago and some desert rats chewed through my swimming pool life jacket container. They shredded the water shoes and life jackets to make a nest. Yeah, more like a family reunion. It was a mess to clean up. I had to discard everything because it was shredded to pieces.

Are there any alternatives to plastic trash cans?

Yes, there are alternative options to traditional plastic trash cans. Some eco-friendly alternatives include metal trash cans, wooden bins, or composting systems. These options provide sustainable alternatives for waste management and can help reduce environmental impact.

Can I use multiple trash cans for different types of emergency supplies?

Using multiple trash cans to categorize different types of emergency supplies can be a practical approach. For example, you may use one trash can for food and water, another for medical supplies, and a third for tools and equipment. This system can help you quickly locate specific items during an emergency.

Where should I store the trash can with emergency supplies?

Store the trash can with your emergency supplies in a cool, dry, and easily accessible location. Avoid placing it near sources of heat, direct sunlight, or areas prone to flooding. Garages, basements, or dedicated storage areas can be suitable locations for storing your emergency kit.

More Tips

Final Word

Now that you know what to do with old trash cans, you can turn them into valuable tools for emergency preparedness. From storing water and food to serving as waste bins and temporary shelters, these containers can really help with emergency preparedness. Remember to clean and sanitize the trash cans before use! May God Bless this World, Linda

Copyright Images: Garbage Cans or Recycle Bins Depositphotos_352080664_S by Romaset, Garbage Cans or Colorful Recycle Bins Depositphotos_625713734_S by NewAfrica

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  1. I use several trash cans (not old) for blanket/clothing storage. I’m familiar with your situation with the rats–I *do* check the bins periodically for rodents, and the cats have access to the attic regularly to patrol!

    A big trash can would make a great potato growing bin. A damaged one would be perfect for this, since drain holes would have to be punched anyway!

    A metal can could be sunk into the ground for a small root cellar, with insulation like straw over the top (and probably a piece of plywood or a tarp that can be pulled away, covering it from snow).

    A damaged plastic trash can could be cut down to make a little “wading pool” area for poultry to cool off in summer, or (filled with sand, ashes, etc.) a dust bath spot any time of year.

    And having been a kid wanting to make jumps to train my horses, but no money to buy fancy stuff, I’ll verify, old trash cans can be used all sorts of ways!

    1. HI Rhonda, oh my gosh, I never thought about using trash cans to store blankets/clothing, great idea! I may try growing potatoes in some trash cans with the hols drilled in the bottom, I like that! I would like to see if I could make a root cellar one with some metal ones, they would be perfect. Great tips for the chickens and training a kid to train horses, love this, Linda

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