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7 Different Types of Car Trash Cans

Car driver putting trash on car.

I am getting ready to go across the US and into Canada and Mexico on a two-year road trip that will turn into a five-year world wind tour. This means I am shopping for some strange accessories for my vehicle.

A car trash can is one of them! When they say there are a lot of options on the market for car trash cans, they are right, they meaning the algorithms controlling Google, really.

Here are several types of car trash cans that you might be surprised to learn about as you delve into ways to manage car garbage. 

1. Car Trash Cans Hanging on Headrests 

HerMia Hanging Car Trash Can Bin, Hanging Car Garbage Can PU Leather, Waterproof Litter Auto Trash Can for Travelling, Outdoor, and Vehicle (Black)

What is it?

The most popular and easy to find style of car trash cans is the kind that hangs on a headrest. This type of trash can is simple to install as it loops over the top of a headrest in any style of vehicle.

You do not need any special tools or equipment or skills. You also do not need experience installing car accessories in order to make a car trash can hanging on a headrest work for you. 

The bag style is easy to use–simply drop in a small bag or waterproof liner and insert garbage as needed. You might also choose a hanging car trash bin that does not require a liner and can be washed out for ease of use and convenience.

Why choose this type?  Pros? Cons?

The biggest benefit of using car trash bins that hang on the back of headrests in a minimalist style. Instead of having a hard bodied trash can like you see in a restroom or bedroom, this trash can looks like a handbag or satchel.

Therefore, it blends in with the style of a vehicle, and you can choose leather or faux leather in the same color as your car interior. You can buy a car trash can that is open all the way to the top or one that has a closed lid with a rubberized opening.

The choice is yours. Open-topped trash bags do not hide trash well like closed-lid versions. However, it is much easier to get trash into an open-top trash can when you have both eyes on the road.

Having to hang your trash can on the back of your headrest might be cumbersome for you if you like to adjust the headrest height often. Also, the weight of the trash bag could pull against the bars on the headrest, creating a hazard for the person sitting in the seat.

Always follow the vehicle precautions regarding the use of aftermarket accessories, such as car trash cans that hang on headrests.

What is it used for?

A car headrest hanging trash can will hold all sizes of typical car trash, such as empty water bottles and food containers. By hanging the trash can using a strap over the back of a seat, this minimizes the amount of trash and items located on the floor of a vehicle. 

Key features

A hanging trash can for a car or truck features a long strap that goes over the top of a headrest in a vehicle. The trash can hangs down behind the seat and supports collecting trash while concealing its smell and contents.

2. Small-Sized Cup Holder Trash Cans

Car Cup Holder Trash Can Small Mini Trash Can Car Office Household Trash Can (Black)

What is it?

A cute but contained way to handle car trash is with a trash can small enough to fit in your car’s cup holder. These are trash cans that look like cups with domed lids.

The lids are made to open with your fingers so you can keep the trash can closed and trash concealed. You can choose a variety of styles, including ones featuring eyes as if the opening area is the mouth–so that you feed the tiny trash can.

Why choose this type?  Pros? Cons?

The trash can that fits in a cup holder serves to hold only the smallest of items. However, this can be convenient if you are working with office supplies, eating, or getting rid of receipts while on the road.

You can maximize space by using this tiny trash can that fits in a single cup holder–in place of larger 3 to 13 gallon-sized trash cans that fit over the headrest or on the floor. 

Of course, you cannot fit anything larger than a couple of golf balls into this cup-holder sized trash can. This means you have to keep it empty more often compared to traditional trash cans in a larger dimension.

Also, if your cup holders are full most of the time with beverages or other objects, you will not have space to use this type of car trash can.

What is it used for?

When you want a trash can that holds small items, choose a style that fits in your cup holder.

Key features

The small size and compact shape allows this trash can to fit within the confines of a cup holder in most vehicles. The trash can also typically features a lid that keeps the trash content hidden from view and scent.

3. Car Floor-Mounted Trash Cans–the Most Conventional

Carbage Can Premium Car Trash Can w/ Floor Mat Clip and Bag Securement Band

What is it?

This style of trash can looks very much like the trash cans you have in your home office or bathroom. Holding 13 gallons maximum, the car floor-mounted trash can stands out by how it is attached to the floor of a vehicle. The trash can itself is open at the top without a lid, and rectangular in shape.

Why choose this type?  Pros? Cons?

A car floor-mounted trash can is ideal for keeping a trash can from toppling over. If you have a minivan or SUV where there is a lot of walking and climbing to get into seats, you need a stable and sturdy trash can.

Otherwise, the trash will continually spill out when people accidentally kick it. This is where this type of car trash can is the best option.

If you do not know how or want to attach a trash can to the floor mats in your vehicle–or you are driving a rental car or leased vehicle and cannot add this accessory by contract–this is not the trash can for you.

You do need to have some basic tools and knowledge of how to attach accessories to a vehicle in order to install this trash can. For some car owners, this is too much to contend with just to have a trash can in the vehicle.

What is it used for?

A car trash can that mounts to the floor is good for active owners or those with pets. This type of trash can also work well for those owners who have a busy and active lifestyle or one that involves taking a vehicle off-road or for camping. You can rest assured the trash can will not budge even if your vehicle is swerving along mountain passes.

Key features

The key feature of this type of car trash can is the floor mat clips. These are patented by Carbage Can specifically to secure this trash can directly to floor mats or flooring in most vehicles. The purpose is to keep the trash can from tipping over or otherwise moving while you are in motion or even when loading the vehicle.

4. Branded Auto Car Trash Cans–Volvo Brand XC40 Trash Bin  

Source: Cars

What is it?

For auto owners of a branded vehicle, check with your manufacturer to see if there is a trash can sold for your particular make and model. For example, Volvo has the XC40 trash bin that is available in select vehicles. This is a removable trash bin that makes it easy to conceal garbage.

Why choose this type?  Pros? Cons?

Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to use factory-branded trash can accessories. These are designed exclusively for use in certain styles of vehicles.

You can increase the value and usability of your automobile by choosing this type of trash can. Some automakers will not have trash cans as options for keeping their vehicles clean, which is a con.

What is it used for?

These compact trash cans are made from the same materials as the vehicle’s interior components. Therefore, the trash bins are smaller in size and are reserved for smaller items.

Key features

The trash can made by your automaker will fit compactly into your style of vehicle, which is the main draw for this type of trash can. You can also find branded car trash bins and bags from most car manufacturers or branded companies, like Thule for Subaru cars.

5. Cute and Kawaii Themed Car Trash Cans

Carton of Tasty Strawberry Milk Cute Car Trash Can for Women Kawaii Anime Design Leakproof Trash Bag Hanging for Minivan Truck Van SUV Garbage Cans with Lid Trash Bin

What is it?

A Kawaii themed trash can for a car features a cute Japanese animation style or anime characters. Colors tend to be pink or girlish and the imagery might often feature strawberries, Hello Kitty, or slices of pink frosted cake. 

Why choose this type?  Pros? Cons?

For car owners who are interested in Japanese culture and specifically Kawaii, the cute-themed car trash cans are all the rage. This is an easy way to accessorize a car as a way to showcase one’s interest in Kawaii characterization.

On the other hand, for those car owners who are clueless about Kawaii, even the most precious Hello Kitty cat won’t cut the mustard. 

What is it used for?

A Kawaii car trash can tends to be focused on the imagery rather than the functionality. However, these trash cans are often soft bodied and feature a zipper closure to minimize smells. These cans typically feature a tieback feature to attach it to the headrest.

Key features

Kawaii imagery is the most prominent feature found on this type of cute-themed car trash cans.

6. Car Trash Cans for the Front Seat

CREOMG Car Trash Bag, Superior PU Leather with LED Light and Magnet Closure Design, Bundle with Tissue Box and 30 Disposable Inner Garbage Bags, Seat Back Garbage Bin(Large)

What is it?

A car trash can for the front seat is made to be attached to the front dash with a strong magnet. You can position this trash can anywhere there is a magnetic connection.

Typically, this will be in the area next to the passenger side’s front seat’s legroom. You might also be able to secure this magnetized trash can to the bottom underside of the dashboard glove compartment.

Why choose this type?  Pros? Cons?

When traveling or if you have stuffed the rear seat with people or belongings, it is good to have a car trash can for the front seat. This increases ease of use for the driver, especially when traveling alone.

However, only the driver or person sitting in the front passenger seat will have access to this type of trash can. Also, the size of this type of trash can is smaller than most.  

What is it used for?

A front seat trash can is best for drivers or cars that lack rear space to hold a trash can. You can easily reach this front seat car trash can without turning to the backseat.

If you have pets or small children who are riding in the back seat, this front seat car trash can will keep those curious noses and hands out of the garbage.

Key features

The biggest feature of the front seat trash can is the magnetic surface used to stick to most parts of the dashboard and glove compartment. 

7. Handmade Fabric Car Trash Containers

NeatCarBags Handmade Car Trash Container - Trash bin for car, Car Garbage Holder Bag, Small Car Trash Can Hanging with Reusable Waterproof Liner and Disposable Bags - Car Waste Basket (Large Grey)

What is it?

A less structured and more DIY option for your car trash can is the NeatCarBags handmade car trash containers.

These are fabricated using swatches of boho chic prints that feature a liner sewn in to protect against leakage. You use disposable bags, such as shopping bags, or small trash bag liners for the sacks that go into these containers.

Why choose this type?  Pros? Cons?

The choice of a handmade fabric car trash container is ideal for busy moms, crafters, and young women who don’t want to display a large, bulky trash can in their car. These trash containers are flat and look just like a woman’s purse, so they blend into the surroundings.

If you are someone who is concerned about auto theft, though, you want to avoid this type of trash receptacle. It can look as if you have left your purse in the car when you have this sack stuffed with garbage.

What is it used for?

This handmade fabric car trash container is made in the USA to be used in any size of vehicle.

Key features

Ties allow you to hang this car trash container from a variety of areas, such as on the headrest or the handles above the rear doors. The detachable and waterproof liner can be removed for washing and cleaning.

FAQs on Types of Car Trash Cans

How do I store my new car trash can? 

When you are not using your car trash can or otherwise want to get it out of the way, slip it into the trunk or under the seat of your car. This works for soft bodied trash cans best, rather than hard body trash cans.

If you have a conventional hard trash can or bin, consider tucking it into the glove compartment. Avoid taking the car trash can inside your home. This will reduce the likelihood that you will have it and be able to use the can when you are driving in your car and actually need it.

What do I use for a car trash can liner?

A hand holding a black trash can liner.

You can buy trash can liners made specifically for most trash cans. In fact, this is a big selling proponent for most of the companies that make and sell car trash cans.

Otherwise, you can also use recycled shopping bags from the grocery store. This includes plastic and paper bags, the latter of which will not be waterproof but can also hold dry trash well.

Where do I hide the trash can bags or liners when not in use?

The best idea for storing trash bag liners also helps you keep them out of sight in your vehicle. After all, you do not want to confuse a roll of trash bags for actual trash! Try to stick the roll of trash bags directly under the liner that is currently in the trash bag or trash can.

This works for most of the styles of trash bins for cars. Then, when you pull the full bag or liner out of the can, you can surprise yourself to see that you have plenty of new liners to replace this one–without having to dig through the glove compartment or trunk.