We all know that we should be kind to the planet and take care to recycle where we can… but it can be hard to do the “right thing” when you aren't sure what to recycle, what to toss, and where to store it all until trash pick-up day (or in our case, until we make a trip to our local recycling center)! The key to being organized with recycling is to make sure that you have a place for everything you intend to recycle and that you have instructions readily available so that everyone in your household knows exactly what can be recycled and how to prepare the item for recycling. Here is how to organize your recycling:
At our house we dedicated some of our lower cabinet space in our kitchen to some our recycling bins. The bonus is that the bins are easy to access and for me to monitor that the kids are putting items into the right bins, something that would be harder to do if we put the bins in our basement. The con is that is takes up cabinet space!
One cabinet holds a bin of plastics, glass, & metals (which can be recycled together in one container where we live), and a separate bin for newspapers.A few notes on recycling plastics, glass, and metals…..
Plastics- note which “resin numbers” (the little number stamped onto the bottom of the container) you can recycle where you live. Our county is now able to accept all kinds of plastic-regardless of #! (Yay!) Make sure it is clean before tossing it into the recycling bin. When it comes to metal- don't forget to recycle your aluminum foil (just clean off the food particles before putting it in the bin). Most kinds of glass can be recycled- but not ceramics, pyrex, mirror or window glass, crystal, or light bulbs (be sure to recycle your CFL bulbs at the hardware store!)
Another cabinet holds a bin for paper- which includes all kinds of office paper, junk mail, and even magazines. (And yes, glossy paper can be recycled too!)
And in our pantry we have another bin for cardboard. Not just the corrugated cardboard that packages are shipped in, but all of that “paperboard” such as cereal boxes that are printed on one side and grey on the other. This can be recycled too! But make sure that they are free of food waste- one greasy pizza box tossed in with the cardboard recycling and ruin the entire load!
I found a list of guidelines online that explained what types of plastic bags you can recycle at your local grocery store. I had through that it was only that store's plastic bags- but you can recycle lots of different kinds of plastic:
All of the signs above can be printed for use in your own home. Simply click on them to enlarge them and print. I also created a blank version so you can fill in your own information:
And one more thing….know what is really being recycled when your trashed is picked up! When we first moved into our home I happened to watch the garbage man make his stop at our house, and I was shocked when I saw him take all of those carefully bundled piles of cardboard that I had thought that I was recycling- and just throw into the back of the truck where the garbage goes! I immediately called up the trash company and found out that they will dispose of cardboard- but not recycle it! So I asked her to point in the direction of local recyclers- and I found out that my town has an entire recycling center dedicated to recycling all kinds of items- including electronic waste. So sometimes you have to dig and research a little to make sure that you really are recycling items in a way that are best for the planet.
Do you have any recycling tips to share: Please leave a comment below!
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