Across the world, there are many different cultures which all vary in their location, traditions, and even colors. One constant that binds the entire human race is the necessity for a place to put garbage, or what is known universally as a “trash can”. Businessmen in China, to bushmen in Nigeria, to bus drivers in Turkey all recognize that refuse is to be placed separately from where they eat and live, and these metal, circular bins are the perfect means of segregating what people do not want from what they do.

However, if new waste bins are made every day in manufacturing plants across the world, what happens to the old ones? Are they placed inside the new ones like Russian nesting dolls? Of course not, they are nearly always reused in one way or another.

One German artist who remains anonymous has made a now famous work of art entirely out of old trash cans. The artwork is a large dome made of trash cans stacked like bricks resembling an igloo or a carapace of a turtle. This use of recycled materials is also ironic because instead of containing trash like they normally do, the bins now are completely useless aside from aesthetic purposes.

Another interesting use of trash cans can be seen in the poorer nations of the world. When large groups of children gather in their free time in these countries, they often gather around a ball, whether it is an actual ball or homemade does not matter, and these children play a game where they all try to kick the ball into a nearby “goal”, which is usually an empty or decommissioned trash can.

Yet another use for the familiar cans, which can be aluminum or plastic, and usually colored green or blue, includes acting as a portable pool, since American “rednecks” have popularized the idea of standing in a trash can and having a friend fill the can with water from a nearby hose, acting as a sort of private lagoon that only fits one person. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but when the mercury begins to rise, one must find any way possible to keep cool in the hot sun, even if it means resorting to sitting neck-deep in trash water. But one should hope that the refuse bin was clean before someone gets inside!

More viable uses of trash cans are more often seen with the smaller, personal sized models that only hold up to five gallons. As these models are much smaller and easier to carry than their large, bulky cousins that are placed curbside, people can often be seen using these “travel size” trash cans as personal purses for convenient shopping.

It is also fairly common to see women who wear their hair in an afro wear these smaller trash cans on their heads for around-the-house protection of delicate locks that could be easily damaged or frayed. However a trash can is used, however, one must always remember that their primary task is to store trash.

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