simple human 30 liter round stainless steel trash can

My Perfect Kitchen Trash Can and Cheap Trash Bags, Too!

I know “hate” is a strong word, but that’s how I feel about trash. Can’t stand it. But my loathing for trash is nothing compared to Lauren Singer, who has been trash-free for nearly a decade. It’s hard to imagine such a thing, but after hearing her story, she’s got my attention.

The entire amount of trash Lauren has produced in 24 months fits into a pint-size Mason jar.

on pint-size jar of trash

I can’t say I’m anywhere close to Lauren when it comes to trash. I’m in that stage where I need a proper trash receptacle strategically located by my desk and in every other room of the house and garage as well.

The most important receptacle is in the kitchen. It needs to be substantial in size, handy by location, as attractive as possible, impeccably clean, and covered.

I have tested, tried, and or reviewed every kind of trash receptacle in my search for the most perfect product out there.

I have come to the well-educated opinion that stainless steel trash cans by Simple Human are the very best. I have the 30-litre/8 gallon round step can model in my kitchen.

simple human 30 liter round stainless steel trash can

This beauty fits in a corner, against a wall—just about anywhere. It has a removable rigid liner for easy cleaning. The steel pedal is sturdy and the lid gives a smooth, silent, soft close every time. It does not show fingerprints—also a big deal for me. And it comes with a 20-year warranty.

As much as I love this can, it comes with a problem: expensive trash bag refills. The folks at Simple Human insist that I need to use the bags designed especially for this can, which run about $.32 per bag.

You know me—I’m always looking for a cheaper alternative and that’s what I did for my lovely stainless steel trash can. I decided to use Kirkland Drawstring Kitchen Bags instead of the Simple Human brand. I get these at Costco ($.08 per bag), but Kirkland brand products are also available online (fifteen cents per bag) without a Costco membership.

Bag and

This is a cheaper alternative for sure but as I learned quickly, not so attractive.

Bag and Kitchen

Suddenly, I realized why Simple Human had to make special bags for this receptacle and why the rigid liner in a Simple Human trash can has a hole at the back near the top. Bingo! That’s the secret.

A pot that is sitting on a wooden table


Let me explain how to use that hole to make an alternative bag work perfectly:

1. Find the seams

Notice that a Kirkland bag has seams on two sides with the drawstrings in the middle front and back.

A person sitting on a sofa

Bag and Kitchen

2. Tie a knot

Grab the top of one of the seams and tie a knot.

A piece of paper Bag and Kitchen

Bag and Hand

3. Feed knot into hole

Place the bag in the rigid liner then feed the tail of the knot from the outside through that hole and pull it inside the can, including the knot itself.

Bag and Knot

Bag and Kitchen

Bag and Kitchen

4. Tight stretch

Stretch the top of the bag around the liner, which will now fit snuggly, and push the bulk of the bag into the liner.

Bag and Kitchen

5. Insert rigid liner

Place the liner back into the can.

Bag and Lid

6. Close the lid

Voila! A perfect fit that completely hides the trash bag with the lid closed and leaves the drawstrings intact for easy removal and tying closed when the can is full.

Image and Bag

I am a bit jealous knowing that Lauren Singer does not spend money on trash cans. She doesn’t waste money on trash bags either.

Lauren’s example has given me a renewed desire to cut down on trash in every way possible.

In the meantime, after more than 5 years, I still could not be happier with my Simple Human can and super cheap trash bags.

First published: 4-21-15; Revised & Updated 10-15-20



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  1. Mindy Sames says:

    YES! We have the rectangle version. After our first pet (Great Dane) made us go through many trash can tests, THIS was the one she could not outsmart. We have had it for 11+ years and it still looks great (if we can keep the slobber off it from our current Great Dane). And we discovered your tip about the drawstring bags a few years back and am even happier. This is one of your BEST tips, among many.

  2. Denise Holton says:

    Hi Mary,
    Honestly enjoy your tips and tricks more than shopping needs/deals. I made a list of items of interest and searched. Through Amazon Prime, located the Ring 3+ for $129. However, it had to be ordered through Alexa and not through website. There’s no way anyone can keep up with all the deals and different ways to order. Keep up the great informative posts! You rock!!!

  3. Rhonda Hairston says:

    PS: I also own a Super Human trash can for the kitchen purchased with a 20% off Bed, Bath and Beyond coupon. 10 free trash bags were included. Once I registered the product at the Super Human website a generous one time use coupon arrived in my email which I used to purchase additional trash bags at a huge savings.

  4. Linda says:

    Hi Mary,
    I do have to admit I was a little disappointed when I realized your link didn’t work, but ultimately, I’m glad it didn’t! I was already spending too much time browsing and wishing I had more money to spend! I did find a deal on a Fitbit I’ve been wanting. I saved $53.00, and it was something I was planning to buy anyway! Thanks for looking out for us!

  5. Rhonda Hairston says:

    Dear Mary,
    Between Amazon Prime, Target and Wal-Mart deal days the competing ads and deals were overwhelming.
    Like Cathy Shouse, I ordered a no-touch thermometer and then finally purchased a nearly 50% of Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional vacuum. I’m pleased with the deals AND with my restraint.

  6. Shawna says:

    I learned about your from my mom (who started off with your newsletters in the mail!), and I have trusted your advice and followed several of your tips for quite some time. However, I have a whole new respect for you based upon your message that you could not in good conscience post about specific Prime Day sales, which would cause others to buy items without considering if they really needed or wanted them, though you could have profited from it. Thank you for staying honest and true to your mission to help others use their money wisely. God bless you!

  7. Brooke Kingston says:

    Mary, you didn’t let me down one bit during Prime Days. I had no intention of letting my inner shopaholic run amok due to their marketing gimmicks. Deals are great, only if you have the cash and the NEED (not WANT). I chose not to “feed the beast,” and I had two wonderful days without shopping. Worked for me! Thank you for all you do. ❤️

  8. Birgit Nicolaisen says:

    I too didn’t buy anything during prime days. I looked at some items on my wishlist and they were not discounted. I looked at some of the discounted items and realized I didn’t NEED any of them. So I quit looking. For our kitchen garbage we have a slightly larger plastic can that doesn’t have a lid. It makes it much easier to throw garbage in it. We have no pets, so we don’t have to worry about animals getting into it. We usually have just one 13 gallon bag full a week for our family of 3.

  9. Pat Goff says:

    I use a small trash can from the dollar store and use store bags as trash bags. We recycle and compost most of our trash so we have very little trash. We are lucky cause our city recycles.

  10. Cathy Shouse says:

    Hi Mary,

    I came to the same conclusion about Prime Day sales, that it was overwhelming and bringing out the binge shopper in me (and I don’t even binge shop normally)! Took advantage of two deals. One was huge discounts on Calvin Klein underwear, and I bought iHealth no-touch forehead thermometers from a Real Simple tip sheet discounted $10 apiece. LOL

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