Shop trash can...what do you use?

Messages
240
Location
Oklahoma
I was hunting for a trash can for my shop and wasn't sure what I'd end up with. Well, a free, almost new (never used, just slightly rusty from sitting around) 55 gallon drum came my way. I thought it would be perfect. When I set it in there, I started thinking. I realized it may not work. It's already fairly heavy, but once you throw in a few sets of brake pads and rotors it will be obnoxious. It still is the best thing I can think of for durability and strength. The only other thought is to find a smaller drum, but I wouldn't know where to look. Accepting the fact that I'm stumped, I figured I'd ask you all what you use. What type of can? What type of bags, if any? Any advice or input is appreciated.
 
Messages
19,683
Location
Sunny Florida
I use a 20 gallon plastic pail with a regular liner. No rotors obviously but good for most other junk. Rotors and heavy metal stuff go to the local scrap yard once a year or so. We run a small fleet here so our trash output is rather high...
 

4WD

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14,178
Location
Texas
TSC (Tractor Supply) has USA made metal trash cans. I use them as trash cans, storage for my charcoals, kindling, wood chunks, cat food, and DE powder for the pool …
 
Messages
16,928
Location
NH
How much work are you doing?

If I was running a shop, I'd probably have bins on wheels. For home use, almost anything will do--weeks might go by between jobs. So tossing heavy metal parts into a cardboard box for hauling to the transfer station works just fine for me. Regular old Rubbermaid for all regular trash.
 
Messages
8,837
Location
Illinois
I have a steel 5 gallon bucket. It is so old, it has a wooden bail on the handle. It originally held grease that was sold to farmers by the Illinois Form Bureau, and has the IFB logo painted on it.

After I empty it, I throw a handful of sawdust into the bottom of it, to soak up any random oil or liquids.
 
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The metal parts end up in our metal recycling section of our dump once per week. The rest goes in our large Rubbermade with a black plastic bag inside. We don’t have garbage pickup. The weekly trip to the dump is a relaxing 10 min drive sipping on a coke.
 

OilMagnate

Thread starter
Messages
240
Location
Oklahoma
...Well, this is why you don't let your mind wander too much when you're supposed to be asleep. I rarely have dumb moments, but that was definitely one of them. 🤦‍♂️

Now that I'm awake and thinking clearly, I realize several things. First, nobody here is using a 55 gallon metal drum (so far), which somewhat surprises me. Second, if I use one, I'd almost certainly use bags in it. That means I'd be lifting a bag to empty it, not the heavy drum itself. Third, as several of you pointed out, I wouldn't throw rotors/scrap in the same can.

For those of you using larger cans, say 30+ gallons, what bag thickness are you using? 1 mil? 3mil? I want to use the thinnest possible (cost savings) without ripping bags (making any cost savings completely irrelevant). That said, I hate bags that rip, so I'd probably go completely overboard and end up using 2-6 mil bags.

I'm still curious to hear more ideas, but so far (now that my head is screwed on straight), I think a thick 55-60 gallon bag and my drum is the way to go. As long as I don't throw a ton of weight in there and/or empty it when it's 75-80% full, it shouldn't be terribly heavy.
 
Messages
1,441
Location
Roanoke Virginia
We have those big gray trash cans branded BRUTE. Some have wheels some don’t. Then our rags go in one of those as well for the cleaning service to pick up and wash. For the old parts they just go in the dumpster if they aren’t metal unless I get my hands on them first lol I take home most of the parts to take apart and tinker with then I scrap them.
 
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3,341
Location
Madiganistan/ChiRaq
If plastic I would go for the thick 20 gal rubbermaid/BRUTE brand from box stores. I would just flip this into dumpster or whatever you have for trash pickup. That way you avoid having to constantly buy bags. Approx $25 regular price . They sell awheeled piece for the bottom as well

I would be leery of a metal can especially if it was on wheels, rolling into a car and scraping it up.
rubbermaid-commercial-products-indoor-trash-cans-2031188-64_1000.jpg
 
Messages
39
Location
TX
For those of you using larger cans, say 30+ gallons, what bag thickness are you using? 1 mil? 3mil? I want to use the thinnest possible (cost savings) without ripping bags (making any cost savings completely irrelevant). That said, I hate bags that rip, so I'd probably go completely overboard and end up using 2-6 mil bags.
I'm using an older version of this 44 gal Rubbermaid Brute, with the round wheeled base that twist-locks on. Having a can on wheels is great, although the 44gal is too big, I'd opt for a 32 gal if buying now, it tends to hold too much and the liner filled with trash gets heavy. I use the heavy "contractor" can liners, 3mil thick, bought from one of the home improvement big box stores.
 

D60

Messages
133
Location
Colo
My shop is welding, machining and wrenching. Hot works means a Rubbermaid can made me nervous. I run a basic galvanized trash can and I intentionally keep the lid wedged next to it just case I need to cap it in event of fire.

I run the 3 mil "contractor clean up bags" from HD and they're pretty **** good for most anything. I won't go thinner than 3 mil for shop trash, just doesn't hold up consistently if I try.

I do use a separate oily rag container with foot pedal for, well, oily rags.

I run 55 gal drums for small metal scrap like brake pads, water pumps etc and small steel drops. They get loaded into my SuperDuty with the tractor bucket when scrap run time comes.

Cast pays a bit better (although lately, not so much since as a society we figured it'd be fun to crash the economy) so rotors and drums get set aside separately.
 

OilMagnate

Thread starter
Messages
240
Location
Oklahoma
Alright, time for another question. Now that I've been pondering it for a while, I'm quickly realizing there aren't a lot of good outcomes using a 55 gallon drum as a trash can. It's heavy (especially when full), the bags are hard to find (and expensive!), and it can take a while to fill it up to make it worth emptying (think 3 week old fast food just stinking away, but it's not full/ready to change yet). So here's my latest crazy ideas...

I was at Lowe's today and looked at their trash bags. There isn't a large selection. The most common & cost effective option seemed to be a "42 gallon contractor" 3mil bag. They list bag dimensions, but don't list which dimension is which. It just states "2FT 8-3/4IN X 3FT 9-1/8IN X 3MIL." Does this mean it has a 2FT 8-3/4IN diameter at the opening X 3FT 9-1/8IN bag height? If so, this will fit in my 55 gallon drum. I measured the drum today. It's 23" in diameter, 34.5" height, and is 6' in circumference at the opening.

But let's assume I'm incorrect about that assumption and ignore it. What I'm also curious about is finding/making some sort of 'spacer/insert' to place at the bottom of the drum to occupy 6 inches or a foot at the bottom of the drum. In my head, this allows the "full" can/bag to not be as heavy, and should also allow the use of a smaller cheaper bag. Thoughts? Is there such a thing? If I have to make one, what should I use that's cheap? Obviously it would have to hold up to a decent amount of weight, possibly chemicals & fluids, and be without holes or gaps at least at the top so that it can hold the bag without any sagging. I'm picturing a slightly smaller in diameter metal 'lid' held up with four identical height 2x4s every 90 degrees around the circle, held together with a brace in a + pattern on the top, which will also give the 'lid' extra support.

Sorry for the crazy questions, but this is really nagging at my brain. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
 
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