Given how much trash we produce and how much of it ends up in landfills (See my post titled “How Much Garbage Do We Produce?” to find out how much your family produces) it seems like a good idea to try to minimize it, right?  One way to do that is to separate garbage for recycling to get some of it into a recycling bin instead so it doesn’t end up in the landfill.  This post will help you put in place a recycling collection center in your home to help with all that separating and sorting.  Sound daunting?  It’s not – you can do it!

What Can You Recycle?

Your first task is to to determine what bins you need to separate garbage for recycling.  To start, check to see what your community supports.  Chances are if all you have to do is take it the curb for pick up, you’ll get in the habit of recycling.  So, make sure you have a bin for each recyclable.  Communities commonly pick-up paper and co-mingled plastic, glass and aluminum so make sure you know how yours requires your recyclables to be sorted.  If it’s not sorted properly it could just end up in the trash – and head to the landfill. Boo!

Choose the Right Bins

Now that you know what you can separate out for recycling it’s time to decide what bins you want to use.  Do you have a place to hide them and if so what will fit in that spot?  Will they be out in the open?  If so, do you want bins that are attractive and fit with your decor?  Any type of bin, basket or bag can certainly work to collect your separate garbage for recycling.  The choice is totally yours – and you may find that what you start with doesn’t work and you need to switch things up.

Location, Location, Location!

So, I have definitely learned if it’s not convenient for my family, they won’t do it so the location of the bins is key!  Choose a spot that is easy for your family to get to which is usually the kitchen. It’s a central location and a place where a lot of stuff gets thrown away.  You may try one spot for a week or so then realize there may be a better place. Try to think outside the box and be creative with ways you may be able to move around where you store things to try to open up some cabinet space that may work if you want to hide your bins.  I reorganized my cabinets due to a renovation and was able to free up a sizable corner cabinet and have this great rotary recycling center.  I love it! I do think having smaller bins inside the house is better than expecting your family to run their recyclables out the back door or to the garage each time – but if that’s convenient for you – go for it!

What Can I Put In This Bin?

Lastly, you will want to clearly label your bins so that your family knows which bin to choose.  You can’t go wrong with pictures!   Go online and print out pictures of the products you use then post them on the appropriate bin until your family gets the hang of it.  This helps kids of all ages (and even moms and dads!) choose the right bin!

So those are the basics to get you started on your way to recycling more and sending less to landfills!  Let the sorting begin!