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. Betty Thomas says:

    OMGosh, this is genius. I hate the look of a bag outside the trash can, so thank you. And saving money on those bags, bonus!!

  2. Naf ranz says:

    We use a rectangular clothes hamper sans lid. We use 33 gallon trash bags from Wally World. 2 people, empty trash every 2 days. Yep, we dispose of a lot of stuff, but it works for us. If we get another huge dog, we might have to get something with a lid,

  3. Honeywest says:

    The one Prime Day Deal I took advantage of was the extra $10 Amazon put in my account when I bought at least a $40 gift card. Score, extra $10 bucks and I will use that gift card on an order in the future.

  4. Samara says:

    For the first time in over 15 years of reading and learning from EC, I found this post objectionable. I think the idea of purchasing plastic bags to enclose our trash is ridiculous. I have used the same seven pound pet food bag for my kitchen trash for over five years. When filled, I dump my trash bag contents into my trash bin without(!) a plastic bag. Surprisingly, the trash company has not objected. I’d like to hope that your guidance will be more eco-centric in the future.

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