Recycling. Reducing. Reusing. Upcycling. You name it – it’s like taking trip to buzzword city when some of these terms get thrown around, but even though recycling is more common now than it used to be, it’s still not as incorporated into our normal lives as it could be. So if you’re not yet on the recycling train and maybe not sure how to recycle, this will help you get rolling, and even if you are recycling, hopefully you can improve your game with some of these techniques and items.
I’ve been recycling since I was a kid back in the 90s. It was just something my parents did, so we did it and it seemed normal. We were always sorting stuff into bags (mostly empty dog and cat food bags – talk about reusing!) and taking it into town to the recycling bins. I’ve always been one to throw paper in the paper bin, separate the plastic bottle and toss it in it’s special spot, whatever — and it perplexes me when people don’t take these same basic simple steps, because it’s not that hard.
YOUR HOUSE YOUR STUFF
So how to recycle, you ask? You’ve got these bottles, cans, junk mail, cereal boxes – where can it all go? Can it all be recycled? The answer is mostly yes, but check first. Here’s a quick rundown of the most basic household items:
We’ll review items that don’t fit into these nice categories (like batteries, light bulbs, etc.) in another post, but if you want more information on them, search for you local solid waste district to see what recycling and disposal services are offered in your area.
THOSE CRAZY ARROWS AND NUMBERS
So we all know that we should be looking at the numbers on plastics, right? *sound of crickets chirping* Well…the important thing is just to make sure that the numbers on your items match what’s available to be taken at your location. For example, most drop off bins will say something like “Accepting Plastics #1 – #5” or something similar; you would just want to make sure you were taking those plastics, and keeping others separate (and hopefully finding a recycling solution for them as well).
WAIT – THEY PICK IT UP?
Pro tip: if they offer curbside recycling pickup in your area, DO IT! Like, as soon as you finish reading this, search for how to sign up and get it done! Curbside programs have been shown to be the most successful at getting people to participate in recycling because it’s the easiest (duh!). If you’re seeing big plastic boxes or totes or bins at the ends of driveways in your neighborhood and you don’t have them, contact your municipality or refuse company and get on the program. Even if it costs a few dollars a month, you’ll save the time and convenience and feel good about yourself.
OK IT’S GO TIME
Ready for some sweet recycling action? Let’s use this breakdown and figure out how to recycle best for your house:
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HOW TO RECYCLE? KEEP IT ORGANIZED!
So depending on what system is available to you, you’ll have to hold the recyclables until you either set them out for pick up or take them to the bins. If you have curbside pick up, typically the provider will give you one of those awesome boxes and you can just keep your stuff in those. Here’s some lookalike bins if you want to get the same feel but don’t have curbside available.
Now if you have to sort and take the items to the bins yourself, here’s a few things you can use. At our house we only have to sort two ways (paper and bottles/plastics) so we use a couple of barrels with lids like these.
If you like to do more sorting, you can break it down into these nice stack-able bins.
Finally, if you want to go full boss mode for recycling, pull out all the stops and get the big boy bin!
What’s your recycling plan? Plus, are you interested in recycling your food scraps, aka composting? Leave a comment and tell me how you get your items to recycling, and enter your email for more sweet sustainable info like this. Thanks for reading!