Using an Arduino to Make a Touchless Automatically-Opening Trash Can

YouTuber Alex used an Arduino to build a touchless trash can that automatically opens and closes.

You want to keep your kitchen clean for obvious reasons, but there is a good chance you’re spreading bacteria around every time you cook. Even if you’re fastidious when it comes to washing your hands, you still likely end up touching your trash can when throwing away the trimming from raw meats. That transfers bacteria to the trash can, which will end up back on your hands the next time to touch the trashcan. That’s why YouTuber Alex used an Arduino to build a touchless trash can that automatically opens and closes.

There are, of course, plenty of automatic trash cans on the market that were developed for exactly this reason. Unfortunately, those won’t work in all situations, such as if you keep your trash can inside of a cabinet. Alex has been building a custom rolling island for his kitchen, and wanted a way to integrate an automatically-opening recycling bin and trash can. To accomplish that, Alex turned to Arduino.

Both the recycling bin and trash can are mounted onto standard drawer sliders, and Alex simply needed a way to make them slide out automatically. To do that, Alex 3D printed a rack and pinion gear system for each bin. Each pinion is turned by a servo motor that was modified for full rotation. Those servo motors are controlled and powered by an Arduino, which receives power from a cordless drill battery. A pair of small switches are used to open and close the bins, and those switches are mounted low so they can be operated with a toe press. If you’ve been searching for a way to build a custom automatic trash can, Alex’s work is worth emulating.

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