Introduction: Poor Man's Covered Trash

This summer, I moved off campus. As such, it was the first time in my life that I had not had easy access to a covered trash. I then learned why covered trash bins exist: if the trash is covered, then pests can't get into it and procreate. Also it smells less and trash bags are expensive, so you can wait a bit more before taking it out.

Since it will be some time before I can shell out the money for the covered bin I want, I decided to make a stop-gap solution in order to curb the fruit fly problem I've been having. I also set out bait to make an attractive alternative, and since using this trash bin for two weeks, the problem is much less. I might be able to hold out much longer and then be able to make the new bin purchase without feeling like I can't eat! (I'm setting aside pocket change each week until I get to my target goal. Old-school style)

Step 1: Recognizing You Have a Problem

The first step to this is considering how "classy" you want to get. Would you like a rad piece of cardboard and string rigging your trash, or would you like flies? Everyone has different classiness thresholds.

If you would like to proceed, please gather your supplies:

Duct Tape
Handle (mine was from a broken plastic storage box. get creative, you have to drag it with your foot)
Round basket/trashcan thing (punch holes if yours does not already have them. Violence in controlled amounts works well) Needs to have at least two holes on opposite sides of the base.

To begin, take out your current trash. You may also give the bin a clean while at this stage. Punch holes if necessary.

Step 2: Make a Cover

Next, you will make a cover for your trashcan. If you do not want to have a foot-operated movement for your cover, you could almost stop here.

Now, in a case of do as I say and not as I did, I must ask you to add a rectangle when cutting your circle. It needs to be about the size of a rested hand. Don't be shy, it's just to use as a fulcrum for moving the lid.

So, just trace your bin, and cut it out, I ended up using one of the cut-off corners as a fulcrum.

Next, fetch your tape, string and handle

Step 3: Rig It Up

Run a string through the holes in the bottom of the bin. One end of the string will go up to where you have taped the cover to the can like a hinge, and go over and be taped to the cardboard on top. It helps to make a little notch for it so it won't slide around.

The other end will remain on the ground tied to a handle.

I hope my pictures do not make it confusing for you. The idea is that when an object on the floor is pulled, the lid opens, and when the object is released, the lid closes.

Step 4: Final Bits

Finally, you should, after making sure that you like the mechanism and have it tweaked to your preferred amount of moving your feet in order to access your bin, put a trash bag in it. I have not tested this but I'm pretty sure loose trash would interfere with the mechanism.

A final hack, not pictured, was the discovery and subsequent annoyance by le boyfriend that the coefficient of friction between the bin and the ground is low enough that the force required to move the bin is at time less than the force required to move the lid. Rather than stuffing the bin, it is advisable to tie it to a conveniently placed table leg. This will prevent the bin from moving and have a positive effect on user experience.

Go forth and be classy.