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Garbage on Shabbat

Question:

B”H May items from the Shabbat meal (food leftovers etc.) be put into the garbage can inside the house the same way it would be during the week? Is there any prohibition to putting garbage into the can on Shabbat whether the can is full or empty? Thank you.

Answer:

The lid of the garbage can is not muktza, as it doesn’t support the garbage. Therefore, you may put the garbage inside it even if you have to move the lid. Therefore, I don’t see why you should have to put the garbage inside the can in a different way than the way you do it during the week. The garbage can itself is muktza as it is meant to store the garbage, as well as the garbage that is already in the can. Regarding pushing the garbage down if it is full, there is controversy about some types of garbage (disposable cutlery etc., leftover food that can be eaten by the local animals) if they are considered muktza or not, but assuming that your garbage can is full of muktza garbage, you shouldn’t push the garbage down with your hand, as it is moving muktza, however you may push the garbage down in a backhanded way, such as with your foot or elbow.

The reason for this is because pushing the garbage down with another object i.e using a good plate or broom to push it down is considered tiltil min hatzad (moving the muktza thru another object). It is permitted to move muktza tiltul min hatzad if it is for the benefit of a non muktza item, i.e. cleaning crumbs or peels off the table with a napkin, in order to make the table clean. The table is not muktza and the muktza may be moved thru another object for the table benefit. However, we don’t do tiltul min hatzad for the benefit of a muktza item, such as our case, pushing down the muktza garbage for the benefit of other garbage. There is another form of moving things called tiltul b’gufo (moving muktza with one’s body, which is in a backhanded way). Since this is an abnormal way of moving the muktza according to most poskim it is permitted even when moving a muktza for the benefit of a muktza item.

Have a good Shabbos

 

Sources:

Shalmei Yehonason (Muktza vol. 3) 6-35, O:CH 309-4 M:B 311-8, Poskim.

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