How to Start a Recycling Program in Your Home

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I may be dating myself a bit here, but I remember when recycling first became “a thing” and there were so many steps that it felt like a part time job to dispose of waste. Everything had to be inspected for a recycling symbol to find out if it was recyclable at all. Plastic had all sorts of numbers which required further sorting, newspaper couldn’t be recycled with magazines or other print, green glass didn’t get recycled with brown glass or clear glass, and no one was really sure what to do with most of their household garbage. There were so many rules for a recycling program that people couldn’t keep up, and to the detriment of our most valuable natural resources, people were turned off to the idea of recycling.

How to Start a Recycling Program in Your Home

Thankfully things have changed since then and it’s a whole lot easier to do our parts to preserve our environment. All you need is a little bit of know-how rather than a list of seemingly impossible rules and regulations. Some towns and cities have adopted Recycleone™ One and Done. In those places, basically all of the recyclable items go into one bin and then the transfer station takes care of the rest. It’s so easy.

As you know, I’m super passionate about being eco-friendly, so in case you’re still a little bit reluctant to board the recycling bandwagon, I’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks for you to start a recycling program in your home. Before you know it, you’ll be a recycling pro.

How to Start a Recycling Program in Your Home

How to Start a Recycling Program in Your Home

Start small. The easiest way to do it is to begin by returning those soda cans and bottles! You’re paying the deposit anyway. Bring them to the store and put them in the proper receptacles. Next, you can move on to recycling other waste. Add in one thing at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and old habits take a while to break.

Ask yourself if someone else can use it. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. That stack of magazines you’re not going to read might just make the perfect addition to an elementary school classroom. They’re always looking for (appropriate) magazines to cut pictures from as well as things like empty paper towel rolls and baby food jars. Books you’re done reading can go to your local library. Clothing and home furnishings are often welcomed by shelters and can help someone get on their feet. Just by donating all of those things, you’ll have less to sort.

How to Start a Recycling Program in Your Home

Upcycle as much as possible. Turn an old tire into a spill proof dog watering bowl or a covered cake plate into a terrarium.  Use shredded paper as mulch in your garden or packing material for boxes.  Give old things new life!

Don’t let it get out of hand. It only takes a minute to separate your recyclables, but if you let them build up in your utility room, they’ll become overwhelming. Make a plan to take them to a recycling center or have them picked up on a regular basis.

How to Start a Recycling Program in Your Home

Make things easy for yourself. Setting up a recycle station in your home will keep things neat, tidy, and organized. We recently discovered Brabantia Sort and Go Waste Bins and love the smart, versatile features of these handy containers. Sort and Go Waste Bins come in 6 Liter, 12 Liter, and 16 Liter Each is available in your choice of four stylish colors: mint, yellow, white, or grey. They have grippy bottoms so that they don’t slide across the floor and the sturdy handles make them super easy to empty. The 12 and 16 liter sizes hold bigger items and can be used as stand-alone bins, but they’re also very easily wall-mounted with included hardware.

Each space-saving bin gives you a world of options for setting up a recycle station in a cabinet drawer, near your trash can, on the kitchen or garage wall in a convenient spot, wherever you’ll have easy access to it, making it a breeze to remember to recycle each day.  I even set up a 12 Liter bin near my paper shredder to make it convenient to empty and store until needed. The 6 Liter bin is absolutely perfect for tabletop composting, which conveniently brings us to the next tip – tabletop composting!

How to Start a Recycling Program in Your Home

Try tabletop composting. Composting is nature’s form of recycling, and tabletop composting is just composting on a small scale. In short, you layer your organic waste in a bin and it decomposes, leaving you with nutrient rich material. There’s a process to it which I’m not going to get into with this post, but in the end, you’ve reduced your amount of household garbage and can then use that material to fertilize your plants. It’s a win, win, win all around.

With the Brabantia Sort and Go 6 Liter Waste Bin, tabletop composting will take up very little space in your home.  A neat little extra feature – the bin comes with PerfectFit Brabantia Bags which are 100% compostable bin liners, so you just pick up the whole bag for your compost pile, leaving the bin nice and clean for re-use on your counter-top.

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Enlist your neighbors. If you all work together, it takes some of the overwhelm and confusion away. Chances are they feel the same way as you. Consider cleaning up your neighborhood together, too. You’ll make friends, get some fresh air, and have a really nice place to live when you’re done!

Most of all… have fun with it! You’re doing a great thing for yourself and for the environment. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy!

How to Start a Recycling Program in Your Home

Have you set up a recycle program in your home?  What tips and tricks have worked best for you? 

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Tags: eco, sustainable living
Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, wen she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s writing about country living and artisan culture.
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    • Giselle
    • September 9, 2016

    Guilty as charged! I’ve been postponing recycling for a while but I have to start enrolling pretty soon, I’m feeling so bad. The thing is, I keep finding excuses, “We’ll be moving out soon”, “It’s too challenging”, “We don’t have the extra space for all those bins”, but in the end I know I’ll just have to start doing it. I buy only organic beauty products and I also make a lot of my house cleaning products so I’m not that big of a monster #HaveToStart

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