I Splurged on a $200 Kitchen Trash Can, and It Was 200 Percent Worth It

published Apr 10, 2021
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For most people — including me, until recently — a trash can is an afterthought. Its job description is literally to contain your garbage, so why think twice about the details?

Well, after moving into a new house and pretty much starting from scratch, I realized: Like my couch and dining room table, my trash can is something I use every single day. So why not make it an investment piece? 

Obviously, given its purpose, buying a fancy trash can has as much to do with function as it does aesthetic. It would be pointless to buy a rose-gold bin if it doesn’t actually do its job well. I had no idea until today what that could actually mean, and how much a functional-and-beautiful piece would elevate my kitchen. 

The IKEA white-and-silver step can we had worked fine, and I honestly loved how it looked in our mostly white kitchen — it blended right in. The problem was, we didn’t have a spot for our recycling. So we ended up accumulating paper grocery bags full of empty LaCroix cans and wine bottles, which didn’t exactly contribute to the bright-and-airy aesthetic I’m aiming for.

When I ventured out recently to The Container Store to buy some kitchen organizers, I realized I should probably grab another trash bin to contain all those cans, so I picked a cheap option that looked similar to the IKEA one we had at home. Then, I saw this beauty: the simplehuman Dual Trash Can and Recycler

Credit: simplehuman

I knew right away it would fit perfectly on the side of our fridge, and that it would be a lot easier than buying an entirely separate bin for cans. We don’t have space beneath the sink to keep recycling (it’s where I keep all my cleaning supplies), and the idea of another giant can in our galley kitchen didn’t feel right. 

Still, I wasn’t sure about spending close to $200. Even the $40 one from IKEA felt like a lot when we bough it. So I texted my husband, who has a track record of preferring nice, functional pieces that’ll last for years, for input. “It’s $200 lol, is that worth it?” I asked him. His cheeky-but-earnest response was the answer I needed: “I think you meant to say ‘it’s $200 yolo.’”

Reader, he was right: It was worth it. I’ve had the dual trash can/recycler for half a day, but I’m already so thankful I took the leap. It seems so inconsequential, but having more space (and less clutter) in my kitchen — a place I spend a lot of time in every day — will make a huge difference. But it’s not just the overall two-in-one thing that makes my life easier. The details of the piece are so thoughtful, too. 

I love the step feature — it’s honestly the smoothest step I’ve ever used — so I can easily throw things away if my hands are full. I also love that the bin has a built-in bag dispenser. I’ve thought about becoming the type of person who keeps extra trash bags at the bottom of the bin, but I always worry about what will happen if the bag leaks. The dispenser is tucked away in the side of the can, away from potential drips or smells. I don’t use a bag on the recycling side, but that bin has a handle, making it super easy to grab and dump when it’s full.

If you’re wondering if $200 could be a worthwhile investment, I get it. I was there six hours ago. I think a fancy, ultra-functional trash can is one of those things where you don’t realize what you’re missing until you try it — and I’m so glad I did, even if it means I have to skimp on less-important home stuff going forward.