How to Start Recycling at Home
New to the world of recycling at home? Then you’ve come to the right place. This is a quick and dirty guide to setting up a home recycling system to make it convenient and easy to divert as much of your waste to recycling centers as possible. And if you’re not yet convinced that recycling’s benefits are worth the effort, read our Recycling Facts article to find out why it’s important to recycle.
Determine what kinds of things you can recycle: Knowing what you can recycle will help you set up an effective home recycling program for you and your family - after all, there’s no use separating film plastics from the rest of your trash if there are no recyclers willing to take it from you! We’ve got recycling guides for every type of trash problem with resources for how to find recyclers in your local area.
How to sort your recyclables: Various recycling programs require that you sort your waste in particular ways. Various colors of glass, for instance, often have to be separated. On the other hand, some municipal recycling programs let you throw paper and apple cores in with dirty diapers and pizza boxes! Once you know how you’ll have to sort your recyclables, you can calculate how many bins you’ll need.
Decide where to locate your recycling station: To decide the ideal location, you should ask yourself what’s more important - a home recycling system that’s easy to access or one that’s hidden away from public view? The answer will help you determine the best location. Whether you want to hide it in a closet or not, for convenience, we recommend having several recycling stations located where you produce the most waste. For instance, you may need a recycling station in these rooms:
- Kitchen: Which is likely where you’ll produce the most garbage from food prep - cans, cardboard, plastics, glass bottles, soda cans, etc. Here you’ll likely want an extra bin for organic waste.
- Home office: For collection of office paper, newspaper, and so on.
- Garage: Where you’ll have old paints, vehicle fuels, cleaning products, and yard waste. The garage is also a good place for hiding your recycling station if you want it out of the way.
- Bathrooms: For collecting containers from personal care products and paper waste.
Measure available space: Take out a tape measure and determine exactly how much space you have for your recycling stations. Don’t leave this step out because you don’t want to bring home bins that don’t fit!
Choose recycling bins: There are many models from which to choose - some more stylish and others more functional. In the process, you may want to change your trash bin as well - the smaller the better to encourage more recycling. Here are some great recycling bin models you could try (make your recycling bins more eco-friendly by choosing those made from recycled plastic!
If you’re looking for how to start recycling in your condo, apartment, or townhouse complex, check out these resources for multi-family recycling programs:
- Complex Recycling Issues
- Condo and Apartment Recycling
- Home and Apartment Recycling Bins
- Multifamily Recycling - A Golden Opportunity for Solid Waste Reduction
- Recycling and Waste Reduction in Apartment Buildings
- Recycling Handbook - For Superintendants and Property Managers
- Steps to Establish an Effective Apartment Recycling Program