Make Recycling Easy

Do you ever have a day where you want to do the right thing, but it’s just too hard? I know, it happens to me a lot.  Like the winter I stopped composting because the snow was just too deep.

3 full recycling bins

Picking an appropriate sized bin for the room makes it easier and more convenient to recycle.
Shown 3.4 gal (bedroom), 7 gal (dining room) & 10 gal recycling bins (kitchen).

It really helps when there are little thing you can do to make it easy on yourself to be green.  When these easy – do once actions occur to us, we have to share them.

We try to recycle as much as possible at home.  When we had things to recycle upstairs, like an empty toilet paper roll or a contact solution bottle, we would pile those things at the top of the stairs to carry down to the recycle bin in our kitchen.  One day we realized that “they” make small recycle bins.  We bought a small 3.4-gallon recycle bin and stuck it in our bedroom.  Our upstairs is small enough that taking a few steps from the bathroom to our bedroom is easy.  Voila! More things getting recycled and less ends up in the trash.

Then we added a medium-sized 7 gallon recycle bin to the dining room near where I deal with the mail and go through the children’s backpacks.  Actually, we put a larger 10 gallon recycling bin in the kitchen and moved the 7 gallon one to the dining room.  Suddenly, recycling got easier again!

The really brilliant move was at work though.  I noticed that there were frequently cans or bottles in the small trash can next to the microwave & refrigerator in the break room,  even though there was a recycle bin about 6 feet away, on the other side of the room. One day I realized that if I put the garbage can right next to the recycle bin, more people would not ice the recycle bin and use it.  Would you know I was right?  Three weeks later the garbage can is still next to the recycle bin (there’s inertia for you) and I haven’t seen a bottle or can in the trash can since!

toddler recycling

Everyone can recycle

So here’s my tip for the week: put a recycle bin where you are most likely to notice it and use it.  And then move someone else’s for them too!

Happy Greening!





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  1. Hi Alicia – we skipped putting an extra bin upstairs by instead training everyone to put their recycling in to the clothes hampers. Those get brought downstairs with regularity and an added bonus the laundry room is right next to the garage where our recycling bin lives. jbc

    • Jamie,
      That’s too funny! I would think this was a prank comment if I didn’t know you! That’s awesome! None of the recycling accidentally goes in the washing machine? It might in our house!

  2. That’s really a great idea! We have a big family, so the more bins the better, IMO. Now, if only there were a way to compost inside 😉

  3. I also have a mini recycling station at home. Then I forward these ‘recyclables’ to my in-laws who sell these to the local junkshop. I don’t have the time to do it in between projects so what I do is to forward those to them so they can combine their recycled goods with mine and sell it at the same time.

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