Make recycling easier by being organized!
The key to many things around the home is being organized!
I am a pretty organized person, but the challenge is often staying organized when you have a multi-person home, and not everyone subscribes to the same codes of organization.
I could point and whistle at the culprit(s), but if you’ve read enough of my blog, you know I’m currently living with 2 of the male species…the hubby and the man-boy.
You can figure it out.
Anyways, I’m a Professional Personal Assistant in someone’s large, private home, and I have learned some organizing tips that are worthy of passing on.
Half the battle of recycling is having enough space for the extra recycling containers AND being organized enough to manage your trash.
I will tell you another battle is reading the teeny tiny numbered triangles on the bottom of items to find out if they are recyclable and what type of recyclable they are!
If we the people are to get on board with recycling then the companies need to make it easier for the consumers to easily tell what can be recycled. Hint. Hint. Make the recycling markings larger, please!
Obviously most of your trash comes from the kitchen! Consider what can be kept and repurposed.
I can’t reuse every single glass jar or plastic container I get, but I do keep a few good glass jars for mixing up salad dressings or storing homemade syrup or marinade.
Also some of the plastic deli meat containers or to-go plastic containers are handy to keep on hand to use for leftovers. Use what you can!
Every glass, plastic and cardboard container that you don’t repurpose needs a place to go to die.
Each trash collection service has their own policies about what they will take to be recycled, so you need to know what’s acceptable to them.
The items your trash service won’t take also need a place to live before you haul them off to a collection station that does take them. This is usually anything Styrofoam, plastic bags, shrink wrap, and sometimes colored glass.
In the kitchen you need:
- A regular garbage can for everything that can’t be recycled. This would be the trash!
- A good size garbage can that will hold the recyclables such as clear glass, plastic juice containers, soda cans, yogurt cups, milk jugs and cartons, etc.
- A small container that you could tuck into a pantry or underneath your sink where you put all the shrink wrap, plastic wrap, baggies, and Styrofoam.
The home I work in has repurposed a medium-sized, brown paper bag to hold all the plastic wraps from throughout the week. Your trash service more than likely will not take these. This bag just sits in the cabinet right next to the sink, and each week I empty it into the bigger trash can in the garage. This collects for awhile until it’s ready to be hauled off.
The larger “to-go” styrofoam meal containers and drink cups usually don’t fit into this side bag, so they get propped on a counter, ready to be directly discarded to the garage can.
You’ll want to recycle your toilet tissue cardboard rolls and tissue boxes. Put a little wicker basket or small container on the floor by the toilet or inside your cabinet to gather your items.
In your master bath you’ll need a small receptacle for scrap paper, medicine boxes, shampoo containers, vitamin bottles, and clothing tags.
You can repurpose a tissue box for expired meds. Gather and recycle at an appropriate location. You can usually find a local “take-back” program who will take your expired meds for you.
The Home Office
Make 3 piles. These can be pretty wicker baskets or plastic containers that are a temporary holding place before gathering for the garage resting place.
- Pile #1– Old mail, catalogs, envelopes, used up paper that can be recycled.
- Pile #2– Paper that may have personal information that needs to be put through the shredder before being recycled.
- Pile #3– the misprinted paper, 1-sided flyers, and old sheets of paper that can be cut up and used for scratch paper.
This should go without saying.
Re-use any gift bag, tissue wrapping, and ribbon or bow whenever possible!
Organize a wrapping area to be able to contain gift bags, wrapping paper, wrapping tissue, and ribbons and bows.
Organize Your Garage Recycling
Now that your indoor areas are organized, you need to have the final resting places for everything in your garage.
That way you are ready to cart everything off to recycling land!
Invest in a recycling organizer to separate your trash.
- Bin #1– Check with your local trash disposal company, but oftentimes you are allowed to combine your cardboard, paper, plastic, and clear glass all in one container.
- Bin #2– If you are more than a 2-person family then there’s a good chance you will need to dedicate 2 bins to the above recyclables.
- Bin #3- If you’re recycler doesn’t take colored glass then you will need to devote one bin to your vinegar, beer, wine, and any other colored drink and food bottles. Then when this bin is full you can haul it off to a designated recycling area.
- Bin #4- This will be a large separate bin or box that lives on a shelf by itself. Anytime you have a large, odd item like a broken piece of lamp, furniture, tool, or something with wiring, stone, or wood that wouldn’t ordinarily be allowed in your regular recycling…..these items can collect and you can haul off to the junkyard for recycling.
- Bin #5- This will be a large separate bin or box that also lives on a shelf by itself either inside or in the garage. This is your “donation box.” This is any reusable item that a charity would gladly accept and resell. When the box gets full, you haul it off or have the charity come pick up.
Trash can for trash.
You need your regular trash can for all the stuff you can’t recycle: used tissue, paper towels, foil items, food trash.
There will actually be more recyclable garbage and less regular garbage.
Trash can for plastics.
You’ll need a separate trash can with a big plastic liner to hold all your shrink wraps, store plastic bags, plastic meat and veggie wraps, and styro foam containers.
This will collect over time, and then you’ll be able to haul it off to a designated recycling area.
Your handy can liner will let you just swoop it all up and haul it off easily.
If you get shipments to your house then you will begin to get an excess of cardboard boxes.
You can only reuse so many of them, so pass them on to neighbors, use them to store items in your home, or find other ways to repurpose what you can.
The boxes you can’t use, you can gather and also put out for recycling.
Add your shoeboxes, large cereal boxes, and gift boxes to this nest of gathered cardboard and recycle them too.
Keep Your Garbage Organized Once A Week
You don’t often think about garbage as something that needs to be “organized,” but you will find that like any other project you organize in your home, if you have the proper containers and procedure in place, it will all come together and make recycling much easier.
Designate the day before your garbage “pick up day” to be the day of the week that you gather all your recyclables from around the house and dump them in the appropriate bins in the garage.
Invest in the right bins and garbage cans, and you will be well on your way to reducing your footprint on earth. It’s all about the “set up” to get your recycling process underway.