Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Trash Can Repair

When we bought our stainless steel CanWorks trash can we did it because we felt that this would be the last trash can we would ever buy. It won't rust, won't crack, it's almost all metal so it is recyclable... almost all metal. The one part of the can that gets actual wear, however, turned out to be plastic. The hinge piece between the vertical rod and the rod that connects to the foot pedal broke after about 2 years. I refuse to either throw the can away or buy anything else from CanWorks as a result.

Instead I made the replacement hinge pictured above from some scrap galvanized sheet metal brackets and a bent finishing nail. I used tin snips to cut the pieces out and pliers and a hammer to bend the flaps around the rods. It didn't hold well so I used duct tape to try to keep it in place. The tape lost it's stick a couple of weeks ago. That's when I remembered the portable butane soldering iron my father-in-law gave me as a gift.

I heated up the rod and the bracket and fed as much solder in as I could.

Voila! Better than new. Sure, its ramshackle but it's solid. Until it needs another patch it's our small triumph over planned obsolescence.

Back in action.


  1. I've been googling CanWorks to try and find a replacement hinge and found your wonderful article! I agree that it is really stupid that the main hinge is made of plastic! I appreciate the great explanation of your solution and the pictures. I am going to create a metal "ramshackle" hinge which will be far superior to the original plastic one! Good work! P.S. my hinge lasted 7 years but it's because I knew it was a weak point and was gentle while using the foot pedal.

  2. Hi Pip,

    Glad to be of service. Yes, this is an infuriatingly blatant example of planned obsolescence. I am really interested in hearing or seeing how it turns out. Please send pictures if you can, and let us know. Your experience may be helpful to someone else as well.

    Cheers and good luck!

  3. Carol (bryanandcarol@sbcglobal.net)September 26, 2009 at 6:29 AM

    Same happened to me. My CanWorks broke a few weeks back after 8 years. By any chance is one of you interested in selling me a "ramshackle" device? I'd hate to throw the can away.

  4. 8/26/09: This is Pip... After reading this article and posting my comment on 8/20/08, I googled the company and found the correct model. I contacted the company and they sent me a replacement hinge part at no cost. Don't remember more details than that, since it was over a year ago, but I'd try contacting the company and be nice and maybe they'll send you a replacement hinge.


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