11 best kitchen bins that aren’t such a chore to empty

What a load of rubbish – and here are the top ways to keep it under control in the kitchen

Tamara Hinson
Friday 30 April 2021 11:24
<p>The UK has an astounding ability to generate seemingly endless quantities of rubbish around one tonne per household per year</p>

The UK has an astounding ability to generate seemingly endless quantities of rubbish around one tonne per household per year

Whether you’re a fan of pedal bins, love the touch-free simplicity of a sensor bin or appreciate the sleekness of a touch-top bin, we’ve found 11 ways to add a splash of style to your waste disposal regime.

Call us weird, but we love a good kitchen bin, whether it’s a hi-tech waste-devouring device kitted out with more tech than a Silicon Valley crash pad, or a modular miracle machine with different compartments for the shocking amount of waste produced by the average household. Speaking of which, our astounding ability to generate seemingly endless quantities of rubbish (one tonne per UK household per year, to be precise) is exactly why we’ve decided it’s high time we took a closer look at the best kitchen bins.

Our testing process was enlightening, to say the least. We realised features that are all too easily overlooked – such as separate food waste caddies which slot inside bins – weren’t just brilliant space-savers, but were features that helped us streamline our approach to recycling, too.

Quite simply, the presence of different sections for different types of waste forced us to pay more attention to what we were throwing away and helped to reduce the amount of waste we generated (it was the presence of a food waste caddy in Joseph Joseph’s fantastic bin we featured which prompted us to invest in a food composter for our garden).

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When it comes to other key features, we developed a serious soft spot for kitchen bins with sensors – trust us, you’ll never want to grapple with a dirty bin lid again. That said, a good pedal – one which is wide enough and doesn’t require too much pressure – is a godsend. Other features to look for include fingerprint-resistant finishes, hinged bin liner rims and rubber-lined holes through which excess bin liner plastic can be tucked.

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Tower freedom sensor recycling system black

Size: 100l

Our favourite thing about this high-capacity kitchen bin was the ultra-responsive sensors on the top two bins – they’ve got just the right amount of sensitivity, which meant they only opened when we needed them to (the lids can also be opened manually if the four x AA batteries run out unexpectedly). But while we’re admittedly suckers for a sensor, it’s far from the only reason we gave this stainless steel bin system the top spot – we also loved the space-saving capability. We used the top two bins for food waste and recyclable items, and the bottom one for general waste. So while it’s larger than the average model, this meant we could retire our counter-top food caddy and standalone recycling bin, saving us space and time by allowing us to dispose of three different types of rubbish in one place.

EKO deluxe phantom kitchen bin

Size: 45l

We’ve never referred to a bin as stylish – until now. We also loved the fact that this stainless steel, high-gloss kitchen bin, which has a 45l inner bucket, is fingerprint-resistant – why kids love to touch bins we’ll never know, but the hi-tech coating meant that it still looked fantastic after some serious manhandling. It’s another bin with a sensor (powered by six AA batteries) which has just the right amount of sensitivity, and the double-sided lid works well with the slimline design – having two narrow flaps meant we could position it flush against our kitchen wall without worrying about oversized lids clanging open and leaving unsightly marks. We also loved the clever rim design, which meant no unsightly bin liner overhang (the waste world’s equivalent of a muffin top), thanks partly to the presence of a rubber-lined hole – simply push any excess bin liner material through the hole to keep the plastic taut.

Simplehuman 45l slim bin

Size: 45l

The first thing which caught our eye about this kitchen bin, which is available in four colourways, was the 10-year warranty, which is a rarity in the world of bins, especially those made of metal. However, it’s clear this one’s been made to last. Take the steel pedal, which has been engineered to take more than 150,000 foot presses (equating to 20 steps a day for 20 years) or the silver iron coating which repels grease and grime. However, our favourite feature was the hinged bin liner rim, which flips up to allow for easy liner changes and banished our concerns relating to the lack of an inner bin. The six chunky rubber feet meant there was no chance of our shiny new tiled floor being scratched, either.

Brabantia bo pine green 36l pedal bin

Size: 36l

Why can’t all rubbish bins look this fancy? This stylish Brabantia bin fitted snugly against our kitchen wall, but was still large enough to gobble up a decent amount of waste. The supersized opening also had us questioning why so many bins have ridiculously small openings – the large mouth minimised the risk of unsightly splatter around the rim. And speaking or rims, this bin had one of the softest closures we’ve come across. Need a little more time? After pressing the pedal simply push the lid back slightly and it will stay open. Another gold star is awarded for the internal bin’s built-in handles – another simple but invaluable feature we wish we saw more of, and which reduced the risk of accidentally emptying the remnant’s of last night’s dinner over the kitchen floor.

Joseph Joseph totem compact 40l waste & recycling bin

Size: 40l

An ingenious gizmo that accommodates three types of waste without taking up an inordinate amount of space, this Joseph Joseph bin is one of the best modular kitchen bins we’ve come across, and with its splash of pillar box red, it’s rather easy on the eye, too. It’s perfect if you don’t generate huge amounts of waste but want to separate recyclables at the point of disposal, thanks to two 20l bins, one of which contains a 3l removable food waste caddy. It’s incredibly versatile – we’d be just as happy removing the top bin’s food waste caddy and using this in our office or lounge, using one section for paper and the other for plastics. The best bit? Using the food caddy won’t result in any nasty smells, thanks to a designated slot for a replaceable activated charcoal filter.

Addis matt black 40l twin recycling pedal bin

Size: 40l

This brilliant pedal bin, which contains two 20l internal buckets, makes recycling a breeze. It’s incredibly practical, and packed with features which might not seem particularly special but which come into their own when it’s in use. One example is the thin strips of colour at the top of the bin, designed to remind recyclers of each bin’s purpose, and another is the handles on either side of the bin’s exterior. And while we never thought we’d wax lyrical about a bin pedal, this one proved us wrong – the oversized metal platform made it easy to open, even when we were wearing our favourite sausage dog-shaped slippers. The two 20l bins slip out in a jiffy, and the extra deepness of the soft-close lid covers the edge of the bin liner.

Swan Gatsby 30l pedal bin

Size: 30l

Proof that bins don’t have to be boring, this Art Deco-inspired offering from Swan has a very cool dimpled effect, and a design which suggests the brand has taken the time to focus on practicality, too. The housing for the lid’s hinges doubles as a handle with which to move the bin, and the internal bin also has a generously-sized metal handle, a feature which we love to see on kitchen bins but appears to be on the verge of extinction. The opening and closing mechanism was one of the best we’ve come across on a manual bin – only the lightest of touches was required.

Brabantia champagne 30l touch bin

Size: 30l

Making the humble kitchen bin stand out can’t be an easy job, but Brabantia has achieved precisely that with this 30l bin, which opens with the lightest of touches. We also love the colours – Brabantia’s speciality has always been colourful kitchen appliances, so it’s hardly surprising that this one comes in mint, almond and red, too. It’s incredibly sleek, with a slanted lid and plenty of innovative features, including the presence of a protective plastic rim to prevent damage to the floor (a feature which we found provided much more stability than separate feet) and the internal bin’s ventilation holes, to allow air escape when you’re replacing the liner, thereby preventing those annoying vacuums which make bin changes such as chore.

Curver 40l deco touch top kitchen bin

Size: 40l

Given that the rose gold trend appears to have been applied to everything but the kitchen sink, it was only a matter of time before we came across a rose gold bin, and it’s a beautiful one at that. But there’s substance as well as style here – we were smitten with the ultra-soft touch opening (when it comes to grimy surfaces, the less pressure required the better, in our opinion) and the way the hinged liner rim meant we could quickly insert a new bin liner without having to grapple with the bin itself. The five-year guarantee provides additional reassurance on a hard-wearing plastic bin which has clearly been built to last – no metal parts means no rust, and the absence of an inner bin made it easier to clean.

Swan Retro 45l square sensor bin

Size: 45l

Give your kitchen a shot of pastel perfection with Swan’s wonderfully retro sensor bin. With its gleaming silver trim and curved edges, it’s the Cadillac of the waste disposable world, with plenty of tech beneath the bonnet (or lid). Infrared technology is used to create an ultra-responsive sensor (powered by four AA batteries) which will open the lid when it senses movement five to 15 centimetres away before closing it around seven seconds later. The built-in bin liner retainer rim ensures there’s no plastic liner on show (god forbid).

Brabantia Bo touch bin

Size: 33l

This beautiful modular kitchen bin (and yes, we did just use the word “beautiful” in conjunction with a waste disposal product), which comes with a reassuring ten-year guarantee, has an almost architectural look – the main unit is perched on four slimline (but surprisingly sturdy) tapered legs, which clip into place. Nestled beneath the detachable lid, which opens with the lightest of touches, is a hat trick of three removable 11l bins, all of which slide out incredibly easily. A shout out should also go to Brabantia’s eco-credentials – the brand has bronze-level Cradle-to-Cradle certification, which requires it to meet strict criteria relating to materials, renewable energy, water stewardship and social fairness. Finally, if you’re a fan of colourful kitchen bins, this one’s for you – it comes in nine gorgeous shades.

The verdict: Kitchen bins

Tower’s freedom sensor recycling system is one of the best sensor bins we’ve come across, and it also looks fantastic – a rare quality in the world of modular bins. We also loved the innovative design of EKO’s deluxe phantom kitchen bin, which is packed with clever features which mean less time faffing around with liners and lids. And finally, there’s Simple Human’s slim bin, a space-saving masterpiece that instantly upgrades the dreariest of kitchens.

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