MY SIMPLE RECYCLING ORGANIZATION AND STORAGE SYSTEM
Recycling got you down?
Whether it is guilt from not recycling, or the constant overflowing heap of it inside your home that you simply cannot tame, fear not! Recycling does not need to be the bane of your existence, a pain in the a$$ or a massive eye sore.
Recycling is cool, so get with the program! Learn some basic tips to organize the $#!& out of your recycling to make it a breeze and something you don't think twice about.
I am not what anyone would call organizationally inclined. I have systems that work, and I get by, but few people would identify me as organized. I do, however, believe that my system for organizing and storing recycling is far beyond my repertoire, and has helped me evolve into a mean, stress-free, recycling machine!
Thus, if i can do it, anyone can! Check out how I have organized my recycling, and learn some tips on how to sort recycling at home, how to organize recycling and how to create a home recycling center that is both effective and efficient.
In my municipality (Surrey, B.C. Canada) we are lucky to have bi-weekly curb-side collection for a majority of our recycling, and do not need to sort this (it goes into one large bin), however there are a number of items that still must be taken to the depot. These items include refundable cans and bottles, glass, styrofoam, lightbulbs, batteries, old electronics/appliances, and soft plastics. This stuff adds up, and I (or my husband rather!) simply do not have time to go to the recycling depot more than every couple of months. What to do with it all?!
Until about a year ago, all of our recycling that was not collected curb-side was piled in a massive balancing act in the corner of our garage, which we tried our best to ignore until it became a safety hazard and/or our car would no longer fit inside.
Fast forward a year, and recycling is no longer a source of stress or anguish, but rather excitement and pride (seriously, follow me on instagram @holisticlifestylerefresh, recycling is my jam!). Everything has its place and it is neatly concealed. Once I can no longer fit a can or bottle into its designated bin (which is usually at least 2-3 months), I plan a trip to the recycling depot...for my husband.
So if someone without the organizing gene, such as myself, can effectively organize and systemize recycling, so can you!
HOW DID I DO IT?
My recycling is stored in two areas, the kitchen and the garage. With the amount of recycling my family generates, and going 2-3 months between trips to the depot, there is no way I can keep it all inside. Nor do I particularly want to. But if you had to, it could easily be done.
I have two kitchen recycling areas. One is a decent size bin that is kept hidden in the cupboard under my stove. This bin is for all rinsed recycling that needs to be taken to the garage. I am all about energy conservation, so there is no way I am walking out to the garage each time I need to recycle something. This bin is large enough to hold 2-3 days worth of recycling. Once it is full (ok overflowing), I perform a balancing act transferring it to my garage to dump/sort.
Something about emptying this bin is extremely satisfying! I have gradually increased the size of this bin over the years and it goes without saying, the bigger (given you have the space) the better! It can also be anything, and by no means needs to be an ugly blue bin like ours. Ours is hidden in a cupboard that is rarely used so it doesn't matter, but if it does matter to you, find a bin that is both functional and pretty.
In the kitchen I also have two bins for soft plastics (one for flexible/stretchy plastics and the other for flexible/crinkly plastics). Once the plastic is clean and dry it goes into its respective bin. These bins are tucked under a built in desk in our kitchen (visible but hidden), however could easily be stored in a cupboard or the garage. The bins I use are the FILUR ones from Ikea.
Side note: since we started recycling all of our soft plastics (and potty trained our youngest) our garbage bin is nearly empty when it is picked up every 2 weeks. It feels awesome knowing that our contribution to the landfill is next to nothing!
I also have an old ziplock bag that I keep in the kitchen to collect old dried out markers. These can be recycled at Staples, at some schools and via the mail (over 7 pounds), and are not garbage! My kids are not in school yet and I do not go to Staples often, so I plan to recycle them once the bag is full.
In the garage I have the large bin that is collected curb-side (provided by the city), and three of my own smaller bins. Two of these bins are the Ikea SORTERA bins, which are awesome because they are still functional when stacked. I line both with plastic bags, and store refundable cans on the top and glass bottles on the bottom. Once full, I simply take the lid off and tie the bag. At our depot you can print off a label, place it on the bag and leave it for them to sort, with the money being placed into an account. It really couldn't get much easier! If I had to sort them myself I would probably skip the plastic bag and bring the entire bin to the depot, or drop the bags off at a bottle drive.
The blue bin to the right of these is for everything else that needs to go to the depot, which is primarily glass jars, with the odd light bulb, battery or piece of styrofoam (these could easily be placed into a third stackable SORTERA bin to save space). If I have any old clothing (that can not be donated) I place it in a bag and put it in this bin as well, as it too can be recycled.
It's not rocket science! As someone who likes organization but isn't inclined to it, I feel like I am doing pretty well! If you currently are not recycling, or yours is piled in a giant heap like mine was, this is an easy way to get on board, even it if is a stepping stone to bigger and better things!
It is hard to recycle better if it is a cause of stress, anxiety, frustration or anger. Developing a system to manage your recycling will make it something you are proud of and enjoy doing, or at least something you don't hate.
WHERE TO START?
Before you do anything, do your research. Determine what you can and can't recycle and where. Read my post 12 SIMPLE TIPS TO RECYCLE SMARTER. Once you have an idea of the categories you need and your available space, determine how you will store it. I highly recommend IKEA for affordable bins that come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Wanting to make a change and actually doing it can be two very different things. Set a goal for yourself to ensure it happens. Use my free goal setting guide for assistance!
Did you know?
People who are tidy and organized are generally healthier than those who are not. Don't let the stress of disorganization get you down and take your mind off what is truly important. Check out my post Organizing and Decluttering: Finding Balance for Optimal Health for more information and to see where you stand!