Recycling has become a central part of home life. It not only keeps household trash neatly organized, it also prevents usable trash from being sent to overflowing landfills. Recycling also saves trees, reduces our carbon footprint and prevents hazardous materials from entering the environment.
And recycling makes us feel good. “People feel like they are more in control and responsible for doing something when they are recycling in the home,” says Lisa McTigue Pierce, executive editor of Packaging Digest. “They feel they are im-plementing something that’s going to make a change.”
Choose a Collection Site
Most likely, you already have a standard blue recycling bin from your municipality in your garage or outside your home. And there’s likely a garbage bin under or near your sink. By adding a few more bins in a convenient location, you can make recycling a relatively easy process and improve your collection rates. And with a host of bins to choose from, recycling can be done both discreetly and stylishly.
Many experts suggest improving kitchen collection because that’s where the most waste originates. Even if you are not peeling carrots or chopping vegetables, you are throwing away packaging from frozen vegetables or prepared meals. A skeptic might say that the most paper waste comes from a home office. While experts say one location is ideal for a successful recycling program, you must decide what works best for your family.
A Bin for Every Waste
To simplify your home recycling, look for bins with wheels. You may have one bin with separations or several bins. Label the bins for cans, bottles and wrappings. Rinse bottles and cans before throwing them in the recycling bins.
If you have limited kitchen space, try using a Rubbermaid recycler that is attached to the inside of a cabinet.Or you can purchase three stackable bins or pull-out containers with several bins. Space may be limited, but if you have a small kitchen, you can attach lightweight, eco-friendly bags on a wall.
Your kitchen scraps can go into an indoor counter composter that’s emptied into your compost heap when full.
Hazardous materials require special handling. Consult your local government to find out where to dispose of products such as computers, cell phones and old television sets with cathode ray tubes (CRT). There are two groups that have sprung up that will recycle TVs for a minimal charge if they are CRTs. The Basel Action Network, an advocacy group that seeks to prevent toxic waste being exported to foreign nations, has a program that can be viewed at e-stewards.org. Consumers will be charged about $10 for recycling CRTs. A second program, Responsible Recycling (R2) was established by the Environmental Protection Agency. Jim Puckett, executive director of BAN, says R2 is not as strict as the e-stewards program.
And don’t forget to recycle during barbeques. Attractive, colorful recycle bins are easy to use, and there are certified compostable bags available if you don’t have bins
You can also recycle in your car. Brookstone.com sells a foldable three-pocket container for cans, bottles and paper. John Paul, AAA’s Car Doctor says the container should be placed inside the trunk. Asked if it might be located inside the car he replied, “It is not a good idea to have something become a flying missile.”