Creating a Home Recycling Center
Recycling is one of the more significant things we can all do to help the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that 75% of the garbage we throw away can be recycled–this means, nearly all your trash can be recycled including paper, aluminum, glass, plastic, batteries, cell phones, light bulbs and electronics.
Building a home recycling center will provide you with a convenient place to collect and sort your recyclables, but will also serve as a reminder of how important it is to recycle to help the environment. Here’s how to get started:
1. Learn your local rules and regulations
You should first contact your city to see what you can recycle and how you need to recycle it. Some cities require residents to separate their recyclables into their own bins, and others require residents to purchase one large bin from the city for all their recyclables. Furthermore, some will pick up at the curb during garbage pick-up and others require you to drop off at a recycle center. If you live in the New York City area, DSNY provides regularly scheduled curbside recycling and garbage collection for residential households in the City, and collects food scraps and yard waste from buildings with NYC Organics Collection. Click here for more information.
2. Consider where to place your recycling center
The recycling containers can be bulky so finding a place to put all of them may be the biggest challenge when creating a recycling center. Converting a cabinet to the left or right of the sink is the best option if you can find space in your kitchen for your center (great DIY tutorial here) That way, you are able to easily rinse out the containers before placing them in their recycling spot. You can also look at installing a lazy-Susan holder with bins inside those often odd-shaped corner cabinets.
If you don’t want to take up precious space in the kitchen, then consider moving your center to the garage, laundry room or mud room. Just be sure to consider the path that the items take from the kitchen to get to the curb or outside to be taken to the recycling center. You want the chosen location to be convenient.
3. What type of containers?
Now, depending on how you recycle (do you separate your recyclables or not and do you take them to the curb or transport to an off-site center) will determine what type of container you need for your recycling center. If you do need to separate paper from plastic, plastic from glass, etc., stacking containers can be helpful, because they take up less space. Be sure to label your containers so that everyone in the house knows which recyclable goes in which container. If you have younger kids, consider adding an image (i.e. bottle) so they know where things should go.
If you don’t need to separate them, you’ll only need one large container. Don’t forget to check with your city to see if it needs to be a specific container placed at the curb (see above for a link to DSNY). But if you have to move the recycling bins down a long driveway, or if you have to transport it to a center, consider a container with wheels or attach the bins to a wagon or cart to make transport easier.
The best way to get your whole family involved in the recycling effort is to set up a system that’s easy to use.
Talk to us: Where is the best place for you to create a recycling center at home?
image courtesy of flickr CC/Bob Doran