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Pedal Bin vs Open – What is best for me?

If you want to be sustainable having a good waste management system is imperative. The “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” motto is important for the environment not only in NZ but globally and should be incorporated into your hotel’s business strategy.  

Why you might ask? Because every year the hotel industry creates an average of 290,000 tonnes of waste from packaging, amenity containers, kitchens and laundries, including 79,000 tonnes of food waste.

What makes being sustainable easy is having a well-designed bin that helps your guests effortlessly separate their recycling and trash. This ultimately results in your business’s carbon footprint being reduced, creating renewable materials and saving on costs, and of course, it shows your guests that you're doing your bit to help them make a difference.

There are many different bin models on the market but what we’ve found trending are the Pedal Bins vs Open Top Bins. When talking to our customers, we get asked about the advantages and disadvantages of using each type, so we thought we’d break down the top pros and cons for you.

Using Pedal Bins

We are seeing the pedal bins being used in the bathroom only, not in the guest room itself.


  • Maintains good hygiene:
    The pedal bin mechanism stops cross-contamination because your guests use their foot to open the lid which means they can avoid touching the bin and keep their hands clean.

  • Don’t have to touch the bin lid:
    Since you don’t have to touch the bin lid you do not have to worry about sticky finger marks or waste residue leaving unsightly stains. This is especially important if you like the stainless-steel option.

  • Easy to use:
    Just step on the pedal and throw in your waste…. It’s literally that easy!

  • Reduces odours in the bathroom:
    Depending on what rubbish has been thrown away the waste bins can sometimes have smelly odours. The last thing your guests want is to smell something funky while using the bathroom, which makes this closed bin design a great choice.

  • Hides any rubbish in the bin from being viewed:
    Having a pedal bin with a lid means that when the guest disposes of their rubbish, which sometimes includes sanitary products, they won’t see it every time they enter the bathroom.

  • Soft-closing lid:
    The option of a gradual slow soft-closing lid adds innovation. It’s all in the hinge designs which closes slowly as soon as you take your foot off the pedal, making it less noisy and gives your guests a more pleasant experience.


  • Pedal bins tend to wear out quicker:
    Because the pedal is a moving part and is stepped on there is more chance of the bin breaking. As in anything in a hotel room, the more moving parts there are, the more opportunity for breakages.

  • Can cause more damage:
    When guests push the pedal this can sometimes cause the lid to hit the wall, and leave marks making it another thing the maintenance team need to fix.

  • Easier for housekeeping to overlook:
    Since the pedal bins have a lid it means the inside contents aren't visible to your housekeeping team so they may overlook emptying the bin. This can happen more often when the housekeepers are time-poor and are in a hurry.

  • Metal bins can rust:
    Because pedal bins are most commonly made out of metal they can rust easier due to the damp environment of the bathroom. This also makes the amenity look unsightly to guests and will need to be replaced more frequently.

Open Top Bins

Open top bins are fast becoming the preferred option for hotels, both in the guest room and in the guest bathroom.


  • No contact required:
    Since a trash can is a container to collect your guests’ waste and recyclables it makes it an object some would rather not touch. This type of bin makes it the ideal option for guests because no contact is required whatsoever.

  • Less wear & tear:
    Since the bin doesn’t have a lid or foot pedal there will be less wear and tear on the product which means it will require less maintenance or replacement.

  • Easier for housekeeping:
    Because the bin is open and visible it then becomes very obvious for the housekeeping team to see if it needs to be emptied or cleaned.

  • More design options:
    We are seeing more of a focus on the bin design so it doesn’t stand out, but blends in with the room décor. Open bins are really the only option to do this and allow for flexibility when it comes to colour, material, size, etc.


  • Can look untidy:
    Although it is the guest's own rubbish that is going in the bin it can still be a turn-off if they can see the waste, especially if it’s potentially smelly.

Although there are advantages and disadvantages of both options, it’s about what is the most important for your operations and guest experience. If you would like help in working out what is best for your hotel then get in touch with one of our friendly team or view our full bin range.

About the author

Sabrina Justen

Sabrina is a seasoned digital marketing manager with 10+ years of B2B & B2C experience in the tech and SaaS space. She is focused on building and implementing strategies that innovate, create awareness, and generate demand. Sabrina executes brand/product development through strategic alignment, passion, resolute focus, and inspired teams.