Do Dorm Rooms Come with Trash Cans? (Explained)

Do Dorm Rooms Come with Trash Cans

As a college student, you may find yourself trying to figure out what essentials to bring for your dorm room. You’ve packed your bedding, desk lamp, and mini-fridge, but what about the trash can? It may seem like a simple question, but do dorm rooms actually come equipped with trash cans?

Do Dorm Rooms Come Equipped with Trash Cans?

Whether dorm rooms come equipped with trash cans depends on the college or university. Some dorms may only have one wastebasket, while others may provide each student with a small wastepaper basket.

Generally, there will be a trash chute or a large trash can on each floor of the dorm for students to dispose of their waste.

It may be a good idea for students to consider purchasing a wastebasket for their room, preferably one that fits underneath a desk. Having a trash bag in the wastebasket can also make it easier to keep the room clean.

Many colleges and universities are making an effort to encourage recycling and composting in dorm rooms.

Some schools have implemented an innovative mini bin recycling and composting system for students to use.

Mixed paper can be placed in a blue bin, while landfill waste goes in a black deskside mini bin. There are also generally blue containers for aluminum, plastic, and glass in shared bathrooms.

Some schools may require metal containers for fire safety reasons while others may have rules regarding the size or shape of the container. It is important for students to check with their housing office or resident advisor to ensure that they are complying with any regulations. [1][2]

Importance of having a wastebasket in a dorm room

Having a wastebasket in a dorm room is essential for keeping the space clean and organized.

Without a trash can in the room, it can become easy to let trash pile up, leading to an unsanitary and unpleasant living environment.

Many dorms have recycling programs in place, and having a separate container for recyclable materials can make it easier for students to participate. Encouraging recycling in a shared living space can have a positive impact on the environment and can make students feel good about their contribution. [3]

Keeping a clean dorm room is crucial for avoiding unwanted pests, like the garbage fairy.

Schools with trash chutes or large trash cans

Some schools have trash chutes or large trash cans located on each floor, making it easy for students to dispose of their waste without having to leave their rooms. With this convenient setup, students can simply toss their trash into a nearby chute or can without having to carry it down the hall or outside.

Other schools may provide smaller trash cans in each dorm room, which students are responsible for emptying and disposing of on their own.

While this setup requires a bit more effort on the part of the student, it also allows them to have more control over their waste and contributes to a sense of personal responsibility.

In these cases, the school may provide guidelines around the types of materials that can and cannot be disposed of in the cans, as well as how often they should be emptied.

Some schools may also provide recycling bins or encourage students to compost their waste in an effort to reduce their environmental impact. [6]

Metal vs plastic wastebaskets

Metal and plastic wastebaskets are both popular choices for dorm rooms. While some colleges may require students to have metal wastebaskets for safety reasons like fire, other schools may not have any specific rules.

In terms of functionality, both options work well for collecting small pieces of trash.

However, some students may prefer the sturdiness of a metal wastebasket, while others may choose plastic for its lightweight and versatility.

Recycling options in dorm rooms

Items like plastic, metal, and glass can be repurposed and used again and again, rather than taking up space in a landfill. However, it can be difficult to recycle in the small spaces of a dorm room. This is where reusable recycling bags come in handy.

These bags provide a convenient way to collect and store recyclable items without taking up too much space. The bags can be hung from hooks or on the back of chairs, and when they are full, they can be emptied into larger bins in community areas.

Creating a chart explaining what items can be recycled is also helpful. [14]

Dorm room decor and vibrant trash cans

Decorating a dorm room can make it feel more like home. From bedding to wall decor, there are endless possibilities.

A trash can is more than just a necessary item though; it can also be a piece of decor. Many retailers offer stylish trash cans that can complement the overall theme of the dorm room.

For example, a bright pink or neon green trash can can add a pop of color to a neutral space.

Alternatively, a metallic or wooden trash can can add a touch of sophistication. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your trash can choice; it can be a fun way to express your personal style.

Another benefit of having your own trash can is the ability to customize it. Some college students choose to decorate their trash cans with stickers or paint to make them truly unique.

This can be a fun DIY project for a boring afternoon. Plus, it can make it easier to identify which trash can belongs to which roommate if you’re sharing a room. [22]


While dorm rooms may not come equipped with trash cans, there are typically options available for waste disposal, including recycling and composting initiatives. It is important for students to be aware of the rules and regulations regarding personal property and consider investing in insurance to protect their belongings.

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