The Pawbin - a Dog Friendly Trashcan




Introduction: The Pawbin - a Dog Friendly Trashcan

The trashcan is a household object that is used a lot during the day. The task of opening and closing a trashcan might seem easy for everyone, but it can be a challenge for some. For people in a wheelchair the opening and closing of a trashcan can still be a hard job, even with a guidance dog. This trashcan was designed specifically to help Sylvie and her dog Croepoek with this problem.

The Pawbin is a hacked trashcan that can be made by anyone. During the development of this project we tried to use a low amount of components so the modification could stay minimal.

In this DIY product we add weights to keep the trashcan grounded and in place. We also add a small pulley system to the lid so the trashcan opens and closes easier. Finally we added a toy so the dog can open and close the trashcan instinctively with ease.

Almost every dog will be able to use the Pawbin effectively. The only trait the dog needs is the ability to learn tricks. But keep in mind that this DIY product was specially designed for people who use trained dogs in the assistance of their daily life.

Note: This is an instructable that can be used on any small trashcan with minor modifications.

For further information (ie. our process and different iterations) visit our blog:

Click here to view the video

Step 1: Materials & Tools


All the materials can be found in a DIY-shop except for the tennis balls, which can be found in a sport or toy shop

Here is the list of materials:

- A plumb ( 800 g)
- A wooden stick ◘ ( 17 x 17 mm) , minimum length 110 mm
- A wooden lath ▬ (36 x 6 mm), minimum length 300 mm
- Metal bars ( 40 x 7 mm) , minimum total length 1500 mm
- A PVC tube ( inside diameter 46 mm) minimum length 270mm
- A pleated bracket ( 75 x 75 x 18 mm)
- 2 Tennis balls

- Screws, sunken bolts and nuts
- Double-sided tape


- A wood saw
- A metal saw
- A screwdriver
- A drill
- A file tool
- A dremel
- A meter
- A square tool
- A pencil
- A cutter knife or scissors
-A spanner (M8 - M6)

Step 2: Weight the Bin

Because the dog can use quite some power it's advised to weight the bin.
We use metal bars, but you can also choose other heavy materials like lead or concrete

1. Measure the sides of the bin

2. Saw the metal bar at length (x2)

3. Tape the corresponding bars to each other with dubbel-sided tape

4. Tape the (now thicker and heavier) metal bars on the inner-sides of the bin

Step 3: Making of the Handle

1. It's advised to detach the lid before working on it
(you can see how to do this in the picture in case you have a similar bin)

2. Measure the lid, because we want to know which length the handle needs to have.

3. Saw the wooden lath to a length of → length for inside the lid (160) + length outside the bin (90) = 250 mm

4.The lath that sticks outside the lid of the bin should be smaller for the tennis balls. On the pictures there are 2 different ways suggested to cut out some of the material

5. Make 2 little holes with the drill (diameter 3 - 4 mm) on the smallest part.
We do this to make the attachment of the tennis balls easier.

Step 4: A Cutout in the Lid

1. Make a cutout in the side of the lid. You can choose if you want the handle at your right or left side.
We use a dremel for this process. And we use a file to finish of the rough edges

2. The format of the opening needs to be just large enough to stick the smallest part of the lath trough it.
Also it's better to make the cutout as close as possible to the upper surface.

3. The position of the cutout , where the handle will stick trough, is important.
It determines the height of where the dog will put his paw to close the lid.
We choose to place it at about the half of the width of the lid.

4. Put the handle through the cutout. If there is a clearance gap, it can always be filled up with another wooden lath.
We use double-sided tape to tape the part to the lid (there is little glue that sticks to Polypropylene (PP)).

Step 5: Attach the Tennis Balls to the Handle

1. Saw the wooden square stick to a length of 90-100 mm. The the balls will be pushed over this square stick.

2. Cut out the thickness of the lath or handle, but not to the end of the stick.
We need a 3 - 4 cm full square profile for putting a screw in the head-end.

3. Screw the little block on the handle ( after it is through the lid).

4. Make some holes in the tennis balls with a cutter knife.
Cut 2 holes carefully in the ball (1 on each side, so you can see through). The other ball just needs one hole.

5. Slide the balls over the stick.
If you want to be sure it stays fixed you can turn a screw in the outer tennis ball.

Step 6: Attach the Lever to the Lid

1. Position the pleated bracket on the edge of the lid.
If you have the same bin, place the bracket right above the little battery container.
Normally there is a notch provided for plastic bags, but now this extra space will be used for the plumb.

2. Mark 2 points on the lid where the bolts will go through.

3. Drill 2 holes (diameter 4 mm) on the marked spots.

4. Attach the bracket by using sunken bolts and nuts.
Washers can help to eliminate any cracking of the plastic.
For the safety and aesthetic make sure the nuts are on the inside of the lid.

Step 7: Placing the PVC-tube

1. Measuring the height of the recess. Here it is 280 mm.

2. Saw off the length on the tube.
Here we have sawn it off at 270 mm so that there is some clearance space for the cord of the plumb.

3. Saw the tube with a metal saw.
Make sure it is securely clamped during sawing.

4. Place it in the recess, behind the holder.
It is easier when you take out the battery container.

Step 8: Tie the Plumb to the Bracket

1. We don't need the wooden piece anymore.

2. Cut the rope shorter. A length of 200 mm is enough.

3. Stick the rope through the upper hole and make a double knot.

4. Put the plumb in the PVC tube.

... you are finished!

Step 9: Slippery Floor? Use Anti-slip Mat!

Cut the mat with scissors or a knife. A length of 400 mm will be perfect for this bin.

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    2 Discussions


    6 years ago

    Easy for a service dog to learn to use this. Nice job!