Trash Day is Easier with a Rolling Recycling Cart


Anything that will make a bad job easier is something I’m all for, and this is one of those perfect projects!

For those of you with a recycling program in your home town and have been supplied with plastic containers to hold the recyclable material, you know that it can be somewhat of a bother to cart the containers up to the curb.  Well, while visiting Shari in Florida, I saw this nifty contraption in her garage and thought to myself, I can build one of those for my garage!

Not only does the cart make it easy for hauling your cans and papers to the curb for pick up, it is also a great storage solution for the garage since it holds your recycling bins in one easy location.

And the cart is easy to build as well.  Just keep in mind, recycle containers can vary in size, so you may need to adjust your measurements, but more than likely, the one we constructed will do the trick.

Our drawing is available as a  templaterecyclecart.pdf if you are interested.

recycle cart dimensions

Materials List:

  • ½ inch PVC piping
  • 14- 90% ½ inch PVC elbow
  • 16 – ½ inch PVC T’s
  • Miter saw or hand saw
  • 2 metal wheels, 4 inch size
  • 3 inch bolts and lock washers
  • PVC all purpose cement

Instructions:  Use the drawing for a guide for cutting and size.

cart 1

1. Cut the PVC piping to the size illustrated in the template. Using a miter saw makes quick work of this, but a hand saw can be used as well. (Note that to put an elbow and a “T” connector together you will need to cut short pieces of the straight 1/2″ piping to span between the two. This isn’t visible on the drawing.)

cart 2

2. I started with the bottom section and worked my way up to the handle.

cart 3

Make sure to dry fit the pieces together.  Don’t apply glue until you have laid out the section to test all the fittings.

cart 4

3. Once you have laid out an entire section, glue the fittings together using the all purpose cement.  Apply on both pieces then hold in place, the pieces will set up fast, so don’t delay too long to push the pieces together.

cart 5

4. Continue working around the template map that Shari drew. Use the elbow for making turns….

cart 6

….and the T’s for make connections for longer pieces.

cart 7

5. Continue to assemble the pieces working from the bottom to the sides….

cart 8


…and then up to the top portion of the cart.

cart 9

6. When you cut the feet at the bottom of the cart, they will attach to a T section, cut the small pieces at a 45% angle so the cart will tip back to hold the recycle containers on the cart.

cart 10

7. Attach the wheels by drilling holes through the bottom 90% elbow and secure using 3 inch bolts and lock nuts.

The template is the perfect guide to build one of these carts.  Just use Shari’s dimensions and you will be carting your recyclables easily to the curb for pick up.  And pat yourself on the back for doing your part to be green!



  1. Vicki says

    On the bottom, it looks like one side has 2 1/2 pieces and the other side 2 1/8 (below the 2 in pieces on the top,) is this correct? Also, in figuring it out it seems like I need 153″ or just under 13 feet of the pvc pipe. Is that correct?

    • Shari Hiller says

      Vicki – OMG you found a mistake on my drawing! The pieces on both sides are supposed to be 2 1/2″. The 2 1/8″ is INCORRECT. When I add up the inches needed, I come up with 263″ of straight PVC or about 22 feet. It takes 33″ to make the handle, 65″ of straight pieces to make the top shelf, 69″ to make the bottom shelf, 84″ for the four uprights, and about 12 ” for the legs on the front and back. (I’m rounding the measurements up to the next whole number.)Does that make sense?

    • Shari Hiller says

      Hi Nikki,
      Check out the last reply I gave about amounts. You’ll need about 22 feet of straight PVC. also note that I have a measurement mistake on the plan, also noted in the last comment. Good luck!

  2. Robert says

    Looks simple but had to throw it away half way into glue. I did a trial run before glue, but the 22 5/8″ piece in the middle on the bottom is too long and does not allow corners to connect. A more detailed instruction would have been nice to have with measurements for the missing pieces to connect the corner as the other 2 pieces on the bottom are 16 1/2″. Most recycle bin containers would not fit this cart as most recycle bins are shorter in width at the bottom than at the top. bottom width is

    • Shari Hiller says

      Hi Robert, we made this cart by measuring a cart a friend of mine made for me to work with the recycle bins I use. I’ll look over the sizes and make a change if I see something incorrect. I’m sorry this didn’t work for you.

  3. Jason says

    I built this cart to help hold and move our bins.
    Overall a great project and easy to do.

    Two suggestions:
    - increase the length of PVC pipes that ho vertical (4 of them) in order to have access to load your lower bins without pulling it out. Our bins fit but little clearance in lower bucket.
    -increase the thickness of the PVC pipe. Although this is structurally competent, I have seen other carts and like the feel of them.

    • Shari Hiller says

      Jason, thank you much for the constructive advice. Others have had difficulty with it so I’m thrilled to have added your suggestions!

  4. says

    Hi. I want to make a cart like this but rotated 90 degrees. What I mean is that I want the wheel axle and the handle to be parallel to the short end. This way the cart will squeeze between our two cars in the garage.

    Suggestions, anyone, for how to adapt the schematics?

    Thanks! :)

    • Shari Hiller says

      Hi Brittany, this is such a crazy project. Some people have done well with it and others have found issues. I’ll go over it again to see if I need to rewrite certain areas or the materials list. Thank you for mentioning this and bringing it to my attention!

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