5 Easy Ways to Upcycle an Old Trash Can

Guest post by Dominick A. Farina*

What do you do when your trash can becomes trash? If one person’s trash can be another person’s treasure, then certainly your trash can shall be transformed into a wonderful upcycled DIY project. These sturdy objects are perfect for a variety of DIY projects. Trash cans are built to be water tight, easy to move around, and long lasting. Take care of your old trash can the green way, with one of these 5 easy upcycling projects.

Trash Can Side Table

trash can upcycle DIY

Pic by Jenna Sue


A round trash can makes the perfect base for a stylish DIY table. Simply paint turn it upside down, give it a lick of paint and attach a round piece of wood to the top.

Compost Bin

If your old trash can already has a hole in it, you are halfway to creating your own trash can compost bin! All you need is a large plastic or metal trash can with a locking lid, a drill with a ½ inch twist bit, and a few bricks to elevate it off the ground. See the full instructions here.

Laundry Basket

Turn an old trash can into an attractive laundry hamper with a few simple upgrades. Simply clean the trash can thoroughly, paint it the color of your choice, then attach a strip of fabric to the rim to dress it up even more. If you prefer the industrial look, you can leave the can unpainted and just attach the fabric trim.


Trash can 2

Pic by Apartment Therapy

A smaller trash can without a lid makes a perfect planter. Drill a hole in the bottom for drainage and then decorate it however you would like. We suggest attaching rope to the outside, painting a bright color, or using a metal trash can and embracing its natural look.

Food Storage

Keep your pet’s food easy to access and away from critters by storing it in a trash can. All you need to do is clean and dry it thoroughly, then fill with your pets favorite meal. Decorating with an adorable pet motif is optional!

*Dominick A. Farina is the owner of Trashcans Unlimited, a leading supplier of decorative and commercial trash cans, recycling bins and ashtrays for the home or office.


Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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