[2009-03-25] Easy trash bag holder replaces bulky cans

Trash cans have always sort of annoyed me. They take up so much space, especially if, like me, you favor large cans to minimize the number of trips to the dumpster each week. There's no practical way to pack a large trash can for storage or transport. If you're moving, of course, you can fill the can with lightweight stuff like dirty clothes or something, but only if you're willing to expose your linen to the inside of your trashcan. I always use trash bags, anyway, and for my money if you use a bag the only major function of the can is to hold the bag open. Well, it's possible to achieve that same function with a much cheaper, lighter, and compact device.

This trash bag holder is sold for lawn waste. You load a bag in it, set it out in the yard, and dump your raked leaves inside. I bought one for use as my regular kitchen garbage receptacle, but soon discovered that this particular model was manufactured with a high suck factor. The plastic was cheap and the joints flimsy and the whole thing fell apart pretty quickly. Then I realized that, using some tricks I'd learned on my big blue buckyball and ball-chain plant hangers, I could build a much sturdier, better-looking version using stuff I could buy at the hardware store for less than I paid for the crappy manufactured version.

The concept is straightforward and pretty self-explanatory from the pictures. You need 3 pieces of nominal 1/2" PVC, each 23" in length, 6 PVC tees to fit the pipe, and 6 lengths of nominal 1/2" blue plastic ENT. 3 of the conduit pieces are 17" long, and the other three are 25.5" long.

Three of the tees have 3/16" holes drilled all the way through at the intersection of the three sockets. These holes are threaded with ~8" lengths of #6 ball chain, each of which is equipped with two eye couplings to form a loop at both ends. One goes through the hole in the tee, and the other goes through the mounting hole of a medium-sized broom clip. I also added an end coupling behind each eye to keep the loops tight around the components, but this is probably not strictly necessary.

The finished "trash frame" is 26" tall, 19" across the top, and 25" across the bottom. It is sized for 32 gallon trash bags. It's all just push-fit together, but some of the joints could be glued without sacrificing collapsibility, for instance those between the PVC tees and rigid pipes. The bag is secured in three places by clipping between the upper conduit ring and the attached broom clip, as shown. When the bag is full, it is unclipped from the conduit and sealed up in place, and then the whole frame is lifted off so the bag can be carried away.

Check out my more recent version of this project over at Make: Projects.

last modified 2013-11-09