Garbage Disposal...the Ugly Truth?


When planning a kitchen remodel or new kitchen most homeowners know exactly how they want their kitchen to look. They have clear ideas of what cabinets and countertops are preferred, how pots and pans will be stored, where cutlery and utensils should be placed for easy access, and how cookie sheets and the pantry cupboard should be organized. Appliances have been very carefully researched and placement is planned precisely. All of which is a very exciting part of the design. 

But what about the conversation that is needed…where and how does that ugly garbage storage fit in?

Times have certainly changed…no longer are the days of one small bag under the kitchen sink. 

Most municipalities require separation of just about everything for garbage to be picked up. There is separation of food scraps, plastic and glass recycling, cardboard recycling, regular garbage and everything else that must be disposed of. With packaging being what it is…it is no small task to fit in appropriate trash compartments. But fit it in we must!

So, what are the options for garbage disposal? Well, here are but a few options:

  • Many homeowners want the trash and recycling located under the sink. But now separation means, having several divided containers. This means making the cupboard big enough to accommodate separated bins, and ensuring that they are emptied regularly. There are many organizers that cabinet companies can use to make that storage effective and easier to handle.
  • Built-in trash compactors and garburators are also an option that some homeowners may consider. They can be located in the kitchen or even in an adjacent mudroom/pantry area. Keep in mind that trash compacting allows for more garbage to be fit into one container, so it will be heavier to move later. These appliances have different noise levels and options, so it is recommended that you do your research ahead of your purchase to decide what will work for you.
  • Depending on the size of the kitchen, garbage and or recycling can be stored in adjacent cabinets that pull out for easy access. Many homeowners like to locate them close to the dishwasher or sink for proximity of cleaning. Trash can still be put under the kitchen sink, while the recycling is in an adjacent cupboard(s). Islands can also offer space to disguise trash/recycling storage.
  • If a pantry or mudroom is nearby, recycling can be built into a cabinet in the mudroom/pantry where it will be hidden from view. Food garbage can still remain in the kitchen for convenience. This leaves most of the coveted kitchen cabinets available for kitchen needs and helps keep your countertops free.
  • A nearby closet can hold freestanding bins or be designed/remodeled to have built-in storage containers on the bottom that are entirely separated from upper storage of other household needs. Closets don’t have to just have a single door for the whole unit.
  • If your kitchen is small and giving up a cabinet to hide your trash compartments is simply not feasible, there are many container options to have your garbage/recycling separate but still aesthetically pleasing. It is possible to have a kitchen company make a housing for the bins that matches your cabinets and can be placed in another area of the kitchen. Perhaps it can sit in the laundry or mudroom area if nearby. A decorative furniture piece, a console cabinet, bench or window seat can be retrofitted to secretly provide storage for your recycling and yet appear to be a dining accessory. Even wine barrels and portable kitchen carts/bar carts can be used for trash storage.  Normal trash cans can be painted or decorated to appear to be vintage finds or contemporary art pieces while still holding the trash. 
  • If all else fails or if it is your preference for convenience, free-standing stainless steel compartmental bins can be strategically placed outside of the main view. Some of the latest products are far more attractive than a typical trash container. There are fingerprint resistant units or hands free/automated options that help keep the surfaces clean. Even a choice in metal colour is available; there are rose gold options for stainless steel containers, that make it look less like a garbage bin simply by the colour. Powder-coated steel trash and recycling separation units are available in white or charcoal grey colours that can blend right in next to similar coloured cabinets.  Many of the newer trash/recycling separation units also have charcoal filters for odor control.

Garbage is not the most exciting or pleasant topic when discussing your dream home or renovation, but it is a necessary one for effective planning.

While there are options for freestanding garbage/recycling units, from an aesthetics point of view it would certainly be the desired choice to disguise your storage in a cabinet when possible. Keep in mind whichever option you consider, you need to be honest with how much trash you actually create and how often you should/will need to remove that trash from your kitchen. Larger families are likely to require more storage than single homeowners, but remember that kitchens and their functionality can affect your resale value…think ahead and consider who may purchase your home one day. Even the location of nearby doors to take trash out is a consideration in planning.

One thing is a must…wherever you choose to store your inside trash ensure that you are able to clean and disinfect the area if/when there are spills, have a way to control odors, and if possible have a way to open it when hands may not be clean or dry. Emptying the trash daily or frequently is certainly optimal, but even so…by nature, trash is smelly…you may not want to store your food garbage beside someone’s kitchen chair.

And finally, don’t forget about an outdoor housing for household wastes that keeps it safe from animals, and contains any smells, keeping it from coming into your home or over whelming your outdoor living spaces.

If you are considering a custom build or renovation, call the experts at Vanderzalm Construction Inc. We can be reached at 905-562-4463 or 905-684-5823, and we look forward to hearing from you.