It’s Earth Day, so I’m totally inspired to get into the eco-friendly groove. And what better way to honor the environment than sharing a few nifty tips on how to keep your recycling in order? These are my favorite suggestions for organizing home recycling and keeping paper, plastics, and even compost out of the way.
1. Pick a spot
Recycling is much easier to keep in control if it’s all in one spot. Pick a place that’s convenient, like the kitchen, garage, or even the laundry room. Set containers next to each other in an area that’s out of the way (you don’t want to trip over them) and also easy to clean. That means no carpeted floors need apply — you never know when someone’s going to cause a mess by tossing away a not-quite-clean can of beans. Make it even easier: Place recycling bins by the door so you don’t have to carry them as far on collection day.
2. Cover it up
Let’s be for real–no one wants to look at their recycling. If you’re lucky enough to have a cabinet, drawer, or pantry to tuck containers away in, count yourself among the fortunate few. If you don’t, use lidded trash cans as your recycling receptacles. Pictured: Polder® 10 1/2-Gallon Square Trash Can, Umbra Flippa Trash Can, simplehuman® Mini Slim Plastic Step Cans, simplehuman® 30-Liter Red Retro Trash Step Trash Can Make it even easier: Choose a 2-in-1 container with a divided lid.
3. Make it easy to carry
Live in an apartment? Then you know what a pain it is to carry your recycling down the stairs and around to the back of the building. Even those blessed with elevator access still have to get the containers from their apartment and then down the hall. Choose recycling containers that are easy to carry. This could mean using bags or bins with handles.
4. Use a liner
No matter how many times you remind your family to wash out recyclable containers before tossing them — there’s always one sticky bottle or can that sneaks by. Keep your recycling area looking neat (and avoid having to constantly hose out your containers) by using liners. Be sure to pick bags that have strong seams — cans, bottles and paper are heavy and can easily rip through thin trash bags. Make it even easier: If your town requires recycling to be placed in city-ordained bags, use those as your liner.
5. Think beyond cans, bottles, and paper
Recycling isn’t limited to the above items. Composting and reusing plastic shopping bags also qualifies. Much like your regular recycling, keep receptacles for these items in a convenient spot. Stick your compost pail under or next to the sink so you can sweep vegetable peels and other compostable food bits in as you cook (and wipe up easily if you spill).
As for the 900 plastic shopping bags that have taken over the bottom shelf in your pantry? Snag a holder to keep those babies under control. Keep it in an easy-to-reach space like next to the hook where you hang your reusable shopping bags. Make it even easier: Easier on the eyes, that is. Recycling doesn’t have to be a total snoozefest. Pick containers with pizazz.
How do you organize your home recycling? We want to know! Share it in the space below.