Dust bin VS Garbage bin [dustbin, garbage can, trash can]

  • MJSinLondon

    Senior Member
    English - UK (London)
    In BE usually written as one word "dustbin". But something of an endangered species now, often displaced by the ubiquitous wheelie bin!
     

    Johnny519

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Is trash can mostly used in AM and dustin in BE? What about recycling bin? British English?

    By the way, does trash can also mean the container you put in the corner of the house in order to collect rubbish before taking them away?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    <Moderator note: Johnny's thread has been merged with an earlier thread>

    Yes, I say dustbin (not dustin) for the rubbish bin outside. The one indoors is a waste paper basket (not for food items) or waste bin (for food and non-food items).
     

    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    Recycling bin (or recycling can, or recycling container) is also AE -- assuming that one lives in an area where there is recycling. In AE, the word "bin" is not typically used to refer to the relatively small containers used for disposing of trash from a private house. If used at all, it would refer to something larger, like a dumpster. Thus, "garbage bin" probably isn't used by anyone, as Americans would say "garbage can", and Britons would say "rubbish bin".
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    and Britons would say "rubbish bin".
    No. For domestic waste, left outside the house, for weekly or 2-weekly collection, it is "dustbin" (if round with a separate lid) or "wheelie bin" (if roughly square, on 2 wheels and with a hinged lid). A "rubbish bin" could be any one of a wide variety of bins, including street litter bins and bins on buses and trains.
     

    Johnny519

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Recycling bin (or recycling can, or recycling container) is also AE -- assuming that one lives in an area where there is recycling. In AE, the word "bin" is not typically used to refer to the relatively small containers used for disposing of trash from a private house. If used at all, it would refer to something larger, like a dumpster. Thus, "garbage bin" probably isn't used by anyone, as Americans would say "garbage can", and Britons would say "rubbish bin".
    What about trash can, same as dumpster? a large container with a hinged lid usually put outside along the street or in the community? What is the term for the small container you keep inside your room or your kitchen?
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    "Trash can" is the same as "garbage can" in AE - the one you roll to the curb, or the similarly-sized metal or plastic one you find along streets, or even the one in your kitchen. "Dumpster," described with pictures on Wikipedia, is the great big one found outside businesses and apartment buildings, the one that's the size of a small car. (It was originally a brand name, by the way.)
     

    Johnny519

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    "Trash can" is the same as "garbage can" in AE - the one you roll to the curb, or the similarly-sized metal or plastic one you find along streets, or even the one in your kitchen. "Dumpster," described with pictures on Wikipedia, is the great big one found outside businesses and apartment buildings, the one that's the size of a small car. (It was originally a brand name, by the way.)
    So you are saying trash can can mean both the container you put inside the house or the one out on the street?
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    So you are saying trash can can mean both the container you put inside the house or the one out on the street?
    Yes. Every week, I take the bathroom trash can and the kitchen trash can, empty them into the bigger trash can in the garage, and take it out to the street. And walking around downtown, I pass several trash cans (not as many as I'd like, though).

    And you can substitute "garbage can" for each of those. (I generally say "garbage can" myself.)
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    In other words, trash/garbage can has to do with the intended contents, not where you put it, including, even, when it's resting in a shop for sale.
     

    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    A "rubbish bin" could be any one of a wide variety of bins, including street litter bins and bins on buses and trains.
    As pob14 noted above, the term "garbage can" (or its synonym "trash can") could also be one of a wide variety of waste receptacles, including those on the street corner and the like, so I miss the point you are making. Why is "garbage can" supposed to be limited to a container for domestic waste, and thus a synonym for "dustbin", rather than a term of broader use and more of an equivalent for "rubbish bin"?
     

    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    A dustbin is one specific kind of "rubbish bin".
    Which is precisely my point. A garbage can (or trash can) is not just one specific type of waste receptacle. If pressed, I would say instead that, based on the information given above, a dustbin is one specific kind of garbage can.

    However, I think that all would agree with the earlier point that no one on either side of the Atlantic would use the odd crossbreed of a term "garbage bin".
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    , so I miss the point you are making. Why is "garbage can" supposed to be limited to a container for domestic waste,
    The thread up to that point was specifically discussing what in BE is referred to as dustbin. I have made no comment on AE usage because I prefer to stick to the language I use, rather than telling people what is used in AE. I have supposed nothing. If you want to point out that garbage can has a wider meaning than the BE term dustbin then why not just say so politely?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    And a 'dumpster' (AmE) is a 'skip' (BrE) - which is most certainly not a dustbin or wheelie bin.
    We also have skips. A skip is larger than a dumpster. A skip may be hauled off by a truck. Multiple dumpsters are emptied into the same truck which leaves the empty dumpsters behind. I would also call your "wheelie bin" a dumpster as it is meant to be collected directly by the garbage truck.
     

    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    The thread up to that point was specifically discussing what in BE is referred to as dustbin.
    Well, no, not quite. The original question that was asked in 2009 was specifically about the difference between a dustbin and a garbage bin (with my point being that no one would say "garbage bin") and the question asked today by Johnny519 that revived the question was in part specifically about the American usage of the terms "trash cans" and "recycling bins". As trash cans or garbage cans are not just "dustbins", but include a wide variety of refuse containers, I still do not understand why you disagreed with the statement that "'garbage bin'" probably isn't used by anyone, as Americans would say 'garbage can', and Britons would say 'rubbish bin'."

    I have made no comment on AE usage because I prefer to stick to the language I use, rather than telling people what is used in AE.
    Your comment did indicate that you considered it incorrect for an AE speaker to describe the term "garbage can" as an equivalent for the broader BE term "rubbish bin".
    If you want to point out that garbage can has a wider meaning than the BE term dustbin then why not just say so politely?
    :confused: I thought I had.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Mahantongo. It looks as though we have crossed wires. The thread topic is about waste containers which fit the BE usage of "dustbin". Johnny519 added a side question which has taken the thread off track into two separate strands.

    In BE a normal question 50 years ago could have been "have you put the dustbin out?" Today it would probably be "have you put the bin out?" because refuse collection has switched in urban and some rural areas to wheelie bins. It would be decidedly odd for the question to be "have you put the rubbish bin out?" I understood from previous posts that the AE equivalent sentence would use "garbage can" or "trash can". Thus it seems that whereas BE normally uses a specific term for a kerb side domestic waste container, AE uses a generic term. That is why, in the context of this thread, I disagreed with your statement that AE "garbage can" has the same meaning as BE "rubbish bin". That's not a comment on American usage, it's a comment on the problem of translating between two divergent varieties of English.

    PS. Sorry Johnny519, I should have said Johnny519's merged compound question added a second strand to this thread.
     
    Last edited:

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Multiple dumpsters are emptied into the same truck which leaves the empty dumpsters behind. I would also call your "wheelie bin" a dumpster as it is meant to be collected directly by the garbage truck.
    I follow your logic (relative to a skip), Myridon, but then by that definition wouldn't every household trash can or garbage can or dustbin that's put out for collection be a dumpster? A google image search for dumpster comes up with nothing smaller than industrial-sized bins, or the communal type used for apartment blocks (at least 4' x 2', and many a lot bigger) — whereas a household wheelie bin is much smaller. Would you call this a dumpster?

    I suppose you could say that (like the big ones) it's designed to be lifted and tipped by the truck hoist — but where I live that rarely happens. Unless a bin is exceptionally heavy, the guys just lift it and empty it by hand, because the mechanical hoist takes too long.

    Ws:)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I would say 'bin'. ('Trash can' is an American term, equivalent to 'dustbin' to me, and my impression is that this is normally found outside the house or shop.)
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    In that kind of context of a restaurant, I'd probably just say "Is there somewhere I can throw this away?" Then whether it was a trash can, garbage can, waste basket or whatever, you're covered. They might even say, "I can take that for you."
     
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