How to remove the Recycle Bin from a SharePoint team site’s navigation menu

I recently had someone ask me how you could remove the Recycle Bin from a modern SharePoint team site’s left-hand navigation menu. Even if you click Edit on the navigation menu, Recycle Bin disappears as an option you can change. So how can it be done?

While it’s not the most straightforward process, it is possible to remove Recycle bin from a site’s navigation menu but it will require activating the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure site collection feature.

Before you proceed, please read about this feature and its impacts in its entirety and check out Gregory Zelfond’s excellent write-up on the advantages and disadvantages here.

If you’d still like to proceed, and you’re the site’s owner, follow these steps to remove Recycle bin from your menu (video at bottom).

  1. Go to the site for which you wish to remove Recycle bin’s link
  2. Go to Site contents > Site settings
  3. Select Site collection features from the Site Collection Administration section
  4. Activate the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure feature (this may take a minute or two)

Your Recycle bin has now been removed from your navigation menu, but you can still access it via Site contents > Recycle bin.

7 Replies to “How to remove the Recycle Bin from a SharePoint team site’s navigation menu”

  1. I would recommend that people not install the publishing service just to get rid of the recycle bin link. Doing so adds document libraries and permission groups, and disables some modern features. The recycle bin is supposed to be security trimmed so I think it only shows what the specific person has deleted unless you have edit or higher permissions. You might want to amend this post with a confirmation.

    1. You are right in that users should read the documentation I linked prior to making a decision – it does impact more than just the recycle bin. However, when it comes to sites you will actually see anything your colleagues deleted as well in a site. Your site document libraries are shared, as is the site recycle bin. For example, if you were to delete a file from your team site’s main document library, another team member can see it in the recycle bin and choose to restore or “double-delete” it (even as a member, no owner level required).

      1. This is interesting and but have no way to test in the environment I use. Given your experience, I would expect that anyone who does not have permission to delete would not see the link. What would be the point. Might you know if this is true?

        It’s really silly that Microsoft gives no deference to developers in deciding if that link is needed. If I delete content, I don’t want anyone else deciding to recover it which is why hiding it was so effective. This should have been a navigation option. BTW, the documentation does not really tell you what happens to the site when you add features. Also, SharePoint does not remove what it added when you deactivate.

        1. I’ve just done a bit of testing to confirm, and all users (even read-only visitors) will see the Recycle bin link in team sites. However, when read-only visitors visit the Recycle bin, they do not see content deleted by those with higher permissions (contribute/edit/etc.). But a user who has edit permissions is able to see and restore content deleted by others since they all share responsibility for the contents of the site.

          As for documentation of impact, the first link I shared lists out the libraries, web parts, ribbon options, etc. that are added when this feature is activated. Here’s a direct link to the list/library section of it: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/features-enabled-in-a-sharepoint-publishing-site-3ab3810c-3c2c-4361-9d0e-0cbe666ea0b0#__toc336865555

          Is there other documentation you’d like to see regarding the feature? I’d be happy to try to find something that answers a specific question/need.

          1. My bad and apologies. I did not look carefully enough at the content on your link as it is complete. In all, that is way too much unnecessary junk added to a modern just to remove the recycle bin link. Thank you for testing however and adding that perspective. Microsoft should provide developers with a way to hide the link. I control content quite tightly to prevent the sloppy mess that often occurs from rampant contributions. My members do not need to concern themselves with the recycle bin so it does not need to be visible.

            I don’t suppose there is another way to get back SharePoint audiences on a Modern Team site. It looks like I cannot convert from Teams to Communication. I am also not even sure I understand what is specifically missing from a communication site vs. team site.

          2. Looks like there are others who would also like that ability to hide the recycle bin. I’d recommend upvoting the suggestion in the SharePoint feedback portal. Here’s a direct link to that suggestion: https://feedbackportal.microsoft.com/feedback/idea/1ab5c73a-de1c-ec11-b6e7-0022481f8914

            As for differences in the site types, it’s mostly in the underlying structure. Team sites, since they’re built on M365 groups, come with lots of additional resources (mailbox, calendar, notebook, etc.) that you may not always want. More on that at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/community/team-site-or-communication-site#feature-comparison. As for business purpose, I tend to think team sites for group collaboration and communication sites for sharing resources and info broadly (but not necessarily close collaboration – think HR, IT, Emergency response, etc. where info and forms need broad availability to all employees). But they’re really quite visually similar. I did a write-up on some differences you’ll notice in web part availability, however, between the two types here: https://natechamberlain.com/2021/07/13/sharepoint-team-vs-communication-site-web-part-options/

            And you’re right – there’s no way to convert from team to communication (or reverse). You might search the SharePoint feedback forum for that as well and see if there’s an existing idea to upvote or contribute to.

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