Instead of referencing you could try creating instanced duplicates of the waste bin. The only problem with this is that all of the bins would need to be the same (i.e, if you change the geometry of the first bin, like moving a CV, all of the instances will change too), but they will all have their own transform nodes, so you can move them around all independently from each other.
Instances are good because you really only have one copy of the bin in your scene, the duplicates are all 'pointers' back to the original bin, so if the original changes, all the instances will too. This will make your scene much lighter than having 40 bins in it.
Sorry for not answering your original question. Referencing can be a pain. We often reference rigs at work, and end up with a million layers!! You could create a new layer, assign all the bins to the new layer, then delete all the other layers. I think you can do that.
Hope this helps