9 best recycling bins that help you do your bit for the environment

Keep your glass, paper and plastics neat and tidy with this kitchen necessity

Lesley Jones
Monday 08 February 2021 12:10
The average household in the UK produces more than a tonne of waste every year
The average household in the UK produces more than a tonne of waste every year

Paper, plastic, non-recyclable materials and food – sometimes keeping tabs on what goes where in the bin can be a headache, and that’s before you start to negotiate rubbish collection timetables.

Check your council’s website to see what’s recycled in your area, then make things easier from the start by sorting trash as you throw it away.

There’s sure to be a kitchen bin that’s exactly right for the job in our selection.

Our testers tried a range of recycling bins to see how they worked with the rigours of a busy family kitchen.

Were they easy to move when cleaning floors? Was the capacity of sections generous enough? Did the whiff of bins increase as the days wore on? All the bins here made the grade and with varying prices from budget to bin-blowout, all had their plus points.

No matter what your kitchen waste woes, there is a receptacle out there that will do the job perfectly. Now all you have to do is argue whose turn it is to take the bins out in the rain.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

JosephJoseph 60l totem max waste and recycling bin

The kitchen would be a far duller place without JosephJoseph and its clever ways to make life’s little hassles disappear. Its latest recycler is a roomy, easy-to-clean solution that will take all your kitchen cast-offs – including food waste – and hide it all away in two generous sections (one pull-out on dinky rollers, one flip top), till you’re ready to argue over whose turn it is to take the bins out. 

The dark graphite metal casing and orange plastic inner buckets of our test model looked great in a modern kitchen, and the clever hooks on the additional food waste caddy meant it could be swapped around the sides of the upper section. A sample of the integral lid filter meant it remained whiff-free for days and so we had fewer trips to the outside wheelie bin, which is always a bonus.

Morphy Richards recycle sensor bin

Sensor bins are great when you have your hands full and would find it awkward to press downto pop a lid, or wobble with one foot on a pedal. This Morphy Richards recycling bin opens automatically with just a wave and also can be used on manual mode by pressing “open".

There’s a five-second window for using the bin before it softly closes, but if your presence is still detected, it’ll stay as long as you do. We liked the lidded food waste caddy inside, and the nifty dividers for the bottom, pull-out bin that mean you can decide to divvy up the available space into one, two or three sections. Sleek design, too.

Addis 20l In cupboard bin

A great budget solution if you want to hide your trash away and have cupboard space to spare. The buckets are only 10l each, but that’s ok for singles or families who are happy to empty the recycling regularly. Simply screw the track to the bottom of your cupboard and they’ll slide in and out as you need them. We stashed them next to the sink with an extra large food caddy liner in one and rinsed tins and cartons in the other.

Curver 28l deco duo bin

One compartment 18l and one 10l is ideal for couples who are hot on recycling and low on waste. There are colour code tabs to click into place on the corners to remind you which side to use. There’s no removable frame to trap bin liners, so we folded them over the top and they could sometimes be seen outside the casing, so there’s less of a premium feel to this bin. The lid is plastic and will flap back down rather than close slowly, but it’s well put together and the foot pedal is wide and sturdy. Extra marks too for the casing being made of 70 per cent recycled plastic.

Simple Human 58l dual compartment rectangular bin with voice and motion sensor

Just when we thought our 2019 Simplehuman voice-controlled bin couldn’t get posher, this model comes along. Now with added motion sensor, you can choose to command It (“open can” are the magic words) or simply wave a hand in front or above it to get access to the two inner compartments. It works perfectly, even in noisy rooms and our tester’s gestures worked first time, every time, unlike some of the models that didn’t make the grade in our line up. The rose gold colour option looked great, too. Nearing £300 for a bin might seem like silly money, but with its integral bag store, easy lift handles and top-grade brushed stainless steel, it’s the best a bin can get.

Brabantia 60l bo touch bin hi

The bo has been a real hit since its launch in 2017 and took the humble bin to the heights of high-end kitchen chic. This version comes in a single chamber, and is narrower than the original and if it’s recycling you’re dealing with, it has two equal 30l compartments. We found that to be generous enough for a family of four to fill over the week, with newspapers, folded cardboard and rinsed tins in one side and non-green waste in the other. In a choice of four subtle shades, we tried the matt white finish which, along with the spindle legs were a hit with design fans in the family. 

Pet bowls went neatly underneath the elevated can and side grab handles made it a doddle to move around when mopping. Add PerfectFit bags for no spills and Brabantia’s 10-year guarantee and this sturdy bin is one of those ‘expensive-but- totally-worth it’ home buys you’ll love.

Eko home X cube recycling bin

Two 20l compartments make this bin a good choice for smaller households. When changing over bags, there’s no need to remove the frame which keeps things in place. It’s hinged and can be pushed back to stay open. Once closed, you’ll use the wide foot pedal to open the bin and this closes again in a pleasingly slow and quiet way, giving you enough time to divide plastic and cardboard or throw in yesterday’s papers. 

The tall inner compartments are easy to remove, with one integral grab handle to each side. Although you’ll get two sample bin bags included, the odour panel insert for the compartment on the underside of the lid is an optional extra. Don’t everyone’s bins smell?

Minky 60l sort3 recycling bin

Made of steel and a stylish grey polymer, this bin is practical as well as good to look at. It didn’t take up much space and the vertical bins –a generous 30l capacity each – did a great job of swallowing the mess of a family of five. As well as having pull-out, tilting sections, the top part can be accessed via a single-touch flip lid. A great all-rounder.

Plastic Box Shop pack of 3 stacking recycling boxes

This straightforward set of stacking tubs is great for larger families or those who have the space to place recycling in the utility room or garage. Our tester has to take recycling to the centre herself, so it was great to have a place to stash used papers, bottles and metals and let them build up a bit before making the trip. Functional and fun, the whopping 50l capacity of each bin is the most generous here.

The verdict: Recycling bins

As a family all rounder, the JosephJoseph totem max is our pick as it looks after food waste too and remained impressively fragrant over the course of a week. As for our other faves, at one end of the price scale, the Simplehuman recycler was top notch, but if you’re looking for a bargain bucket, check out the Addis twin recycler for only £35.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.