Is 32 gallons too big for a shop waste can?

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Forum topic by Burgoo posted 07-13-2018 05:47 PM 927 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 873 days

07-13-2018 05:47 PM

Topic tags/keywords: workshop shop maintenance collection bin garbage waste trash can question

Hi All,

I’m an intermediate woodworker (been at it intermittently for about 4 years) and I’m finally rearranging my carport shop to have a slightly better bench (than on plastic sawhorses) and better flow. Up till now I didn’t really have any waste container for off-cuts, used packaging, and plastic Lowe’s bags—they would just collect on any flat surface until I went through with a loose bag and cleaned everything up every 6 or 8 months. It’s time to step up and get a proper waste can to help keep the shop clean, however it occurs to me that if I get a 32 gallon can, once it gets full of small woodcuts and sawdust, will it be too heavy to lift to dump into my curbside pickup can? I don’t have a dust collection system yet, so I’m not counting on the can getting really full of sawdust. Those of you who have more established workshops, how heavy do those cans get? How do you get rid of your accumulated shop waste?


13 replies so far

View HokieKen's profile


12003 posts in 1746 days

#1 posted 07-13-2018 05:58 PM

That’s about the size of my shop trash can but, I don’t wait for it to fill up. I just dump it into my curbside can every week when I put it out for pickup. Sometimes it fills up and sometimes not. If I have a bunch of cutoffs I’m going to trash, I don’t put them in the shop can. I’ll put them either in the curbside can or in a box and put them out for bulk pickup. Or take them to the transfer station. It really just depends on how many and what size the cutoffs are. Honestly, only very small cutoffs go to the trash unless it’s cheap wood. Most of them go into bins to be used later for smaller projects or as turning stock.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12001 posts in 4036 days

#2 posted 07-13-2018 06:20 PM

There’s two in my shop. One for burnables…mostly boxes and paper. And, one for non burnable. Junk.
Like Kenny said, don’t wait till either is full.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Rich's profile (online now)


5145 posts in 1197 days

#3 posted 07-13-2018 07:43 PM

At one time I had a single large can, but like you said, it got really heavy when full. When it crapped out, I went with three thirteen gallon cans. They are the ones that have swinging lids, but I got rid of the lids and leave them open. One by the chop saw, one by the bench and one by the table saw makes it convenient to toss scrap and dust.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Mr_Pink's profile


184 posts in 979 days

#4 posted 07-13-2018 09:48 PM

I used to have a large, round trashcan, but now have a 13-gallon can that fits standard kitchen trash bags.

What I miss about the large can is the ability to overfill my dustpan with plane shavings and not worry about any of them spilling out when I dump it.

What I don’t miss is the amount of space it took up. For me, the extra space is worth having to exercise a little more care when throwing things away.

View clin's profile


1076 posts in 1604 days

#5 posted 07-13-2018 10:50 PM

I have two Rubbermaid Slim Jims. I think these are in the 20+ gal range. But they are rectangular about 12” x 24” and fit really well at the end of a workbench. Having multiple smaller cans is nice because you don’t have to always walk across the shop every time you want to throw stuff meshing away.

-- Clin

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6052 posts in 3016 days

#6 posted 07-14-2018 01:36 AM

Custom make smaller ones and put them in locations where you typically want to drop scraps. Also like Gene suggestion, have at least one for other than wood stuff.

Be creative, you will amazed at what you have laying around that can be made into a usable can.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View bandit571's profile


24403 posts in 3291 days

#7 posted 07-14-2018 01:53 AM


Saw dust, shavings, cut offs, paper items…..when done, it can roll up the stairs, and outside to the Firepit.
Can does have wheel

Usually about a project’s worth, before things get burned….Depends on how much cardboard stuff the Boss wants burned. City doesn’t like to pick up such stuff.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View splintergroup's profile


3209 posts in 1830 days

#8 posted 07-14-2018 02:05 PM

Shop space is always a consideration, but I have 4-33 gallon plastic cans. Three are for (sorted) scraps, the fourth is for general shop trash. I use bag liners and though it can get moderately heavy when full, I never had issues with ripping while pulling it out and tossing it into the back of the pick-em-up truck for a trip to the transfer station. Fro smaller cutoffs and other items that fuel the wood stove, I use a 55 pound dog food sacks clamped to the end of my TS table. The dust collector has a 30 gallon steel drum which is as big as I’d ever go since the walk to the composter is a circuitous trip across the property.

Basically whatever works!

View bondogaposis's profile


5605 posts in 2959 days

#9 posted 07-14-2018 02:34 PM

I use old wooden peach boxes for my scraps. I have 3 of them and rotate them. They are just the right size are are about as heavy as I want to lift when they are full.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Charlie H.'s profile

Charlie H.

395 posts in 1258 days

#10 posted 07-14-2018 04:45 PM

Two car garage workshop.
One plastic ~30 gallon trash can.
Two small metal trash cans (workbench and bandsaw) the metal ones get moved around a bunch depending on what I am doing.

-- Regards, Charlie in Rowlett, TX --------I talk to myself, because sometimes I need expert advice.---------

View Planeman40's profile


1473 posts in 3368 days

#11 posted 07-14-2018 05:00 PM

After 50+ years of having a shop, what I favor is using Loew’s five dollar five gallon buckets. I put one at each machine that makes cut-offs or chips. I do this for shop sweepings too, putting a plastic bag in the bucket before dumping sweepings and sawdust in. Periodically, I carry some plastic bags around to empty the buckets into. I try to keep the full bags to a manageable weight and store them in a corner. As I have a basement shop with a door to the outside on the opposite side of the garbage pickup area, I wait for a dry period and then back my pickup truck across the lawn to the basement door and load the full trash bags into the truck. Then I drive around to the front of the house and set them in the carport trash area for the garbage men to pick up. This is the easiest and most manageable method I have thought of.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Burgoo's profile


9 posts in 873 days

#12 posted 07-17-2018 04:50 PM

Thanks everyone, this is great info. I appreciate you sharing your experience with me (and anyone else who stumbles on this thread)! I’m really looking forward to a more user-friendly—and cleaner—shop.

View RobS888's profile


2635 posts in 2452 days

#13 posted 07-17-2018 04:56 PM

Custom make smaller ones and put them in locations where you typically want to drop scraps. Also like Gene suggestion, have at least one for other than wood stuff.

Be creative, you will amazed at what you have laying around that can be made into a usable can.

- woodbutcherbynight

I like the one on the side of the band saw.

-- I always knew gun nuts where afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

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