4. Bin Opening

Making a decision about the size and shape of the bin opening requires the what, how and where questions to be addressed.

  • What materials will be permitted – this helps identify the size of the bin opening. Garbage bin openings are typically larger than recycling bin openings to discourage users from placing bags of garbage or large items in the recycling stream.
  • How the bins are to be used – this helps to decide on the shape of the opening. Bins designated for containers typically have a round opening, while bins designated for papers may have a slit opening. Some bins use the same shape of opening regardless of the intended use.
  • Where the bins will be located. This helps to decide whether the openings need to be protected from the weather and/or animals and insects.

Other considerations include the need to provide openings that are safe, i.e. smooth, with no sharp edges and providing openings that minimize the need to touch the bin when depositing materials. In addition, a survey performed in York Region found that in general, park users did not like touching the lids of waste and recycling receptacles, especially if they were sticky or dirty. That means asking people to lift a lid to deposit material will not work effectively, unless bears necessitate it.

Did you know?

rubber-flap-binBins used to have rubber flap around the openings to reduce intrusion by pests and vermin but communities found that the rubber flap discouraged people from using the bins once they became dirty or sticky. Now most bins avoid using any flap around the opening. Keeping the opening clean and free of mess is important. Frequent servicing, including cleaning and disinfecting with simple bleach, reduces insect infestations.

Shared Experience

565.7 City of Peterborough Public Space Recycling, 2012

peterborough-binNot only did the City of Peterborough want the bin design to be consistent throughout the city parks but the bins needed to take usage into consideration. After researching how the bins would be used and where they would be located, staff chose bins that were structurally sound, durable, aesthetically appealing with openings that were protected from the weather. Staff describe the bins as “made from galvanized steel and finished with a durable powder coat paint.” The bins are equipped with anchor bolt mounting tabs to deter theft or vandalism and are permanently fastened to concrete flooring. They have a convex, recycling/waste lid with a large steel bonnet top (blue lid and bonnet top for the recycling lid and black lid and bonnet top for the waste). The convex lid is designed so that the water and snow will slide away from the opening. The garbage container opening is much larger (6 inches) than the recycling container opening (4 inches) reducing the garbage that will fit into the recycling opening.

To read more from the report, click here.