William Middleton, 53, said he has been affectionately nicknamed "bucket heid" after an online snap of the unfortunate incident was viewed by thousands across the country.
Mr Middleton, of Aberdeen, was cut free from the city centre bin by firefighters in front of crowds of stunned onlookers.
The moment was captured on camera by one passer-by and was "liked" by almost 4000 people on one Facebook page within 24 hours.
Mr Middleton said he was trying to reach his bonnet which had accidentally dropped inside the bin with some rubbish when he realised he was stuck.
He said: "I couldn't get my heid out. It was shocking.
"I was looking for my hat. I was stuck for about 20 minutes. It was stinking. I'm now known as bucket heid."
A passer-by dialled 999 and within minutes police, paramedics and fire crews arrived. Grampian Fire and Rescue Service managed to cut Mr Middleton free within 15 minutes, using a high-powered saw.
Many sympathised with the man's plight - leaving hundreds of messages of support on Facebook.
But Mr Middleton's friends clearly saw the funny side.
One woman – who did not want to be named – said: "I walked around the corner and saw his walking stick on the ground and his bum sticking out and said 'that's Willie'.
"Me and my pals tried to pull him out but his ears were stuck.
"He is a well-known public figure around here and now he's even more famous."
The photograph quickly spread across Facebook and Twitter.
One blogger wrote: "I think anyone who laughs at his situation should be ashamed of themselves." But another social networking site user said: "Yes it was very unfortunate but I do not believe anyone who says they didn't have a giggle when they first saw this photo.
"I hope the man is OK and has learned his lesson. But seriously, lighten up people."
A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said Mr Middleton was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary as a precaution but was not injured.