Wastebasket Buying Guide

Finding the right waste receptacle for your office, workspace, or facility, as simple as that may sound, is not necessarily all that easy to do. This is due in part to the overwhelming assortment of different types of waste receptacles that are available, and in part to your own need to give careful consideration as to exactly what it is that you want to use your waste receptacle for. A waste receptacle that will be used in an office environment for example, should be aesthetically pleasing, so that it adds to, rather than detracts from the décor, and should also be appropriately sized, so that it “fits” in the desired location, whether that’s under or beside your desk or work-surface, in the corner of your office or simply against a wall. On the other hand, a waste receptacle that will be utilized in an industrial or manufacturing environment will be subject to an entirely different set of criteria. Considerations such as cost, flexibility, size, and so on would be important considerations in this case. Regardless of where you will ultimately use your waste receptacle, other factors that should be considered are its durability, which is typically a factor of its construction, and its overall ease of maintenance. Bear in mind as well, that waste receptacles are frequently called into use for a wide assortment of other activities, such as for use as a foot rest, a place upon which to stack boxes, packages, and briefcases, occasionally as a seat, and sometimes just to prop open the office or shop door.

Choosing the right waste receptacle should begin with a brief assessment of both what is needed and what is available. As there are many, many different types of waste receptacles available today, weeding through them to find the appropriate one for your specific application can appear to be a little overwhelming at the outset. With that said, we’ve provided the following information to help get you started. While not exhaustive, it is our hope that this information will make the task of selecting the right waste receptacle just a little easier.

Types of Waste Receptacles

Waste receptacles come in many shapes, sizes, materials, forms, and styles, and can be constructed entirely of one material, e.g. leather, metal, plastic, fiberglass, or wood, or of a combination of several different materials, such as leather and metal together. They can be designed and made solely for indoor use, such as in offices, or commercial, industrial, or manufacturing environments, or specifically for outdoor use, in either commercial, industrial, or recreational applications. Further, those intended for commercial, industrial, manufacturing, or recreational use can be provided with a variety of options, such as removable lids or liners, side access doors, integral ashtrays and so on.

Ultimately though, before deciding which waste receptacle will best suit your needs, you should consider these two basic questions:

1) Where they will be used?

2) What they will be used for?


Waste Receptacles for Indoor Office Use:

Waste receptacles for indoor office use are typically referred to as either waste or litter receptacles, or wastebaskets. These are products that were designed to accommodate the type of litter most frequently generated in an office environment – scrap paper, files, small boxes, and so on. As they are also commonly used for the disposal of coffee cups, beverage containers, or lunch wrappers or bags, they are often offered with an internal liner as an option.

Waste Receptacles for Commercial, Industrial or Manufacturing Environments:

Waste receptacles intended for use in a commercial, industrial, or manufacturing environment can be referred to as either waste or litter receptacles, wastebaskets, trash cans or containers. Other than those used in restrooms, these tend to be much larger than indoor office receptacles, as they are frequently located in common areas, and are shared by many people. They are usually offered in either heavy-walled plastic or metal, and are available with either an integral liner, or a means by which to use a bag liner, as they can be used for the collection of larger, heavier types of trash, wet or damp items, or for a variety of food and beverage containers.

Waste Receptacles for Outdoor Use:

Waste receptacles that are destined for outdoor use are generally as large as or larger than those used in commercial, industrial, or manufacturing environments. They are often referred to as outdoor receptacles, litter receptacles, trash cans, refuse containers, or garbage cans. Depending on where they’re being used, their appearance may vary greatly – for example, outdoor receptacles at a shopping center tend to be considerably more decorative than those used at a sporting arena or in a parking lot. As most outdoor receptacles are located in common areas and shared by many people, they are typically offered in heavy-walled plastic, metal, fiberglass, and wood. Due to the fact that these receptacles are used for almost anything imaginable, including such things as litter, disposed of food and beverage containers, twigs, branches and so on, they are almost always lined or equipped to accept a liner or a plastic bag.

As our area of expertise is the office environment, the balance of our discussion here will center on waste receptacles that were designed specifically for use in the office.

Location – Where In My Office Should I Place Waste Receptacles?

Deciding where to place waste receptacles throughout the office requires some simple on-site observations. Obvious locations are in individual offices, and at each individual workstation, however there are many other office areas in which the placement of a waste receptacle would be well advised. These areas include such places as the reception area, meeting/conference/board rooms, kitchen areas, next to copiers and fax machines, close to all exits, near public telephones, and close to all common seating areas. There are no hard and fast rules as to where to place them – you could go as far as to create a floor plan of the office area, and use that as a guideline, but more often than not, simple common sense will suffice.

A common mistake often made in an office is the placement of waste receptacles in locations where they are the easiest to empty, rather than where they are the most convenient for people to use. Because people will seldom go out of their way to seek out a waste receptacle, this practice can result in littered hallways and offices, as well as in unused waste receptacles. To avoid the possibility of this occurring, we would suggest limiting the involvement of your cleaning people in deciding where waste receptacles are to be placed.

Selection – Which Waste Receptacle Is Right For Me?

As stated earlier, there are many different types of waste receptacles on the market. In choosing a waste receptacle for an office environment, the most important considerations are:


– The appearance or style of an office wastebasket should be in keeping with the appearance or décor of the area into which it is to be placed. Leather waste receptacles like those that we offer, are a great choice for any executive or managerial level office, or wherever there is a preference for the inherent quality of beautiful full grain upholstery leather.


– An office waste receptacle doesn’t need to be huge. Ideally, it should be somewhere between 8” and 10” in Diameter (if round), or between 8” and 12” in length and/or width, if square or rectangular. A height of between 10” and 15” should prove to be more than adequate to suit your purposes, without being so large that it appears out of place in your office or workspace. These dimensions will provide you with a receptacle with more than adequate capacity to handle the office waste that is typically generated on an average day.


– The choice between a round, a square or a rectangular waste receptacle is largely a matter of personal preference. A square or a rectangular waste receptacle may look best in an office wherein both the furnishings and the accessories are largely “rectilinear” in design, while a round waste receptacle may look best when it accompanies furnishings and accessories that are more “curvilinear” in design, but ultimately, the best choice is simply the one that you prefer.

Ease of Use

– An open top wastebasket is the best choice by far for an office – this will allow you to avoid the inconvenience of having to remove a lid, or push a door in order to discard something. In addition, these waste receptacles are far easier to empty and tend to be easier to keep clean. When available, factory installed liners are always a good option, as they serve to protect the waste receptacle in the event that a liquid or a wet or damp item is placed inside. Bear in mind also that a wastebasket with a removable factory-installed liner tends to project a neater, more professional appearance than one equipped to utilize a plastic bag liner. This is so because the latter style usually requires that the top portion of the bag liner be tightly wrapped over and around the outside of the top rim of the receptacle in order to stay in place.

Care and Cleaning

Most leather waste receptacles used in an office environment remain virtually maintenance-free. It is important to note however, that a leather waste receptacle should never be subjected to harsh cleaning chemicals, nor should it ever be immersed in or filled with water. In the unlikely event that the exterior of the basket becomes scuffed or marked in some manner, the mark can usually be removed by delicately wiping it with a slightly moist, warm cotton cloth. Should it become necessary, the inside of the basket can also be cleaned by using a slightly moist, warm cotton cloth.