The Japanese art of making trash cans from waste paper


How to make an eco-friendly container used in many Japanese homes.

A visit to a grandparent’s house in Japan can introduce you to a lot of eye-opening things, like the best Japanese sweets and snacks…and how to make epic amounts of umeboshi.

For our Japanese reporter Masanuki Sunakoma, a visit to his grandfather always reminds him of the wonders of the trash can flyer. This small container is commonly seen in many households, where they are used to easily hold leftovers, and Masanuki’s grandfather always gives him one to use when eating or peeling a tangerine at the table.

It’s a super convenient and eco-friendly way of doing things, as the bins are made from old newspapers or leaflets that are commonly available in supermarkets or delivered by post, helping to recycle old waste while reducing consumption of plastic bags.

▼ Leaflets and newspapers have a new life as trash cans.

Masanuki has since gotten into the habit of making his own fold-out trash cans, folding them in advance, and making a big stack like his grandfather does, so they can be easily pulled out and used as a tabletop trash can. whenever necessary.

It’s a nifty knowledge of Japanese that Masanuki would love to share with the rest of the world, so he’s created a quick tutorial so you too can make your own flyer bins!

Swipe left below to see the video showing how it’s done:

Wow, that was fast, Masanuki! If you haven’t figured it all out, don’t worry – it’s got the step-by-step instructions for you below.


1. Fold the rectangular paper in half.

2. Fold the folded paper in half again.

3. Open one of the flaps of the last fold and make this part a triangle, as shown below (follow the direction of the arrows!)

4. Repeat the triangle fold on the other side.

5. Flip one half of the triangle to the other side.

6. Repeat this operation on the back.

7. Fold the outer edges towards the middle.

8. Repeat on reverse.

9. Fold the protruding top part towards you.

ten. Repeat on the back as well.

11. Now you will need to cut or tear the two protruding parts in the middle (the red line above indicates the part that needs to be cut).

▼ Tear it in the middle and only at the top of the folded part, as shown below.

12. Tuck the corners of the cut part into the small pockets on the side, as indicated by the red arrow below.

▼ Then all you have to do is open your creation and scale it down to a square shape.

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You have now turned a piece of trash into a waste container and mastered an origami technique that the Japanese have used for generations.

Once you’ve created a stack of containers ahead of time and stowed a stash at home, congratulations again – you’ve reached the maximum Japanese grandparent level.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of, because neat hacks like this are a great idea for all generations.

It might seem a little hard to do at first, but once you master all the tricks, these handy containers are super simple and fun to make.

So the next time you get one of those boring flyers in the mail, why not use it to make a flyer bin before you throw it away? It’ll make a great conversation piece when guests come over, and it’ll look great with your collection of KitKat paper cranes.

Pictures © SoraNews24
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