How to Use a Plastic Trash Can As a Rain Barrel


Conserving rainwater for garden and outdoor use not only proves to be eco-smart but it also saves money during the summer months. Residential water usage increases up to 50 percent during the summer months, according to the University of Rhode Island, so using rain barrels helps lower this percentage. Learning how to use a plastic trash can as a rain barrel enables you the ability to take advantage of natural water sources for your garden with little effort.

Step 1

Sit the plastic trash can on the ground directly beneath your gutters' draining point. If you don't have gutters, locate the area from which rainwater normally drains and place the can beneath it.

Step 2

Anchor the plastic garbage can into place by placing a cinder block in the center of the bottom. This keeps the lightweight can from blowing away during a storm.

Step 3

Wrap an elastic tie around the top of the can and latch the hooks of each end into the railing of your gutters or the border of your house. This further keeps the trash can anchored while it collects water during rainstorms.

Step 4

Let the can collect rainwater from your roof throughout the summer months. The water can be used to water your garden. According to educators at Texas A&M, rainwater is good for plants because it's free of salts that can damage plant growth. It also forces salt in the soil down further from the plants' roots.

Things You'll Need

  • Large plastic trash can
  • Cinder block
  • Elastic ties


  • Texas A&M: Rainwater Harvesting
  • University of Rhode Island: Healthy Landscapes
  • Washington State University: Rain Barrel Fact Sheet
  • Longwood University: Rain Barrels for Harvesting Rain Water
Keywords: rain barrel diy, water conservation, green living tips

About this Author

Chelsea Hoffman resides in Las Vegas, Nev., where she is currently working on a dramatic novel titled "Chloe." A published freelance writer for over 15 years, Hoffman writes for GardenGuides, Travels, and a variety of other online and print venues.