Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Labeled bins to sort recyclables in the garage

I'm a recycler.  Are you?  In the kitchen, I have a pullout trash cabinet that has room for two trash cans.  Because we recycle (and compost) many items, and since we're only a family of three, we don't go through more than one standard kitchen-size trash bag a week.  Therefore we're able to use the second kitchen trash can for recyclables.  When it fills up, we take the items out to the garage for sorting.

Out in the garage, I have an organized system of bins where I store sorted recyclables between trips to the recycling center.   (I don't live within the city limits, so there is no curbside recycling service, but the county does offer several permanent recycling locations.)

First, I purchased several plastic storage bins in several sizes from Home Depot.  I got them on sale after Christmas last year.  I use small bins for aluminum cans, tin cans, and glass, a medium bin for cardboard, and a large bin for plastic.  My guys go through a lot of milk, Coke Zero and Diet Sunkist, so our plastics bin always fills up first even though it's the largest!

I labeled each bin on the front so that everybody knows what gets sorted where.

Once the plastics bin is overflowing, it's time to load all the bins up in my car and take them to the recycling center.  Since I need the trunk, back seat and passenger seat to fit everything, I didn't want the bottoms of the bins to be all dirty from the garage floor.  Instead, I purchased a length of shelving and installed it along the wall just outside the door from the garage into the house, then I lined up all the bins on the shelving, with the plastics bin closest to the door.

Since the milk and 2 L soft drink bottles take up the most space, we toss those straight into the plastics bin on the garage rather than putting them in the smaller bin in our kitchen.  Larger cardboard boxes go straight to the garage bin, but smaller paperboard from food packaging, as well as glass bottles, aluminum cans, and tin cans go into the can in the kitchen until it's time for sorting.

We also have a bin for paper that we keep in our hall closet.  All paper in our house gets recycled.  Even when our document shredder gets full, I empty it into a bag for recycling.

We've been using this system since last January, and it's been working great for us.  Ironically the bins were empty when I took the photos because I had just made a trip to the recycling center.  It wasn't until I returned from the trip and was putting the bins back on the shelf that I thought others might benefit from our system, and decided to blog about it.

If you recycle, what's your system?


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  1. Love this post!! I could look at organization ALL day, do I ever apply it? Nah... Some of our best friends have a recycling plant here and it is super exciting to see people get involved.
    I came over after I read your comment on my fish scale wall art and had to check you out! I am your newest follower and would love the follow back ;)
    Totally digging your blog, well done!

  2. Thanks so much for the comment on my leaves and branches desk! I had never seen the handles placed vertically either, but the originals were that way so I just replaced them the same way :)

    Btw... I suck at recycling. I wish I was better at it...


  3. Hi, I’m a new Follower of your blog and I just gave you a Versatile Blogger Award over at Craft Wannabe. Please stop by & see who else got the award & maybe become my newest follower. Thanks!

  4. I have to take my recycling to a dumpster too. Since it's single stream recycling, we have a tall kitchen trash can from our old house in the garage that we use for recycling.

  5. What a great idea, love the wire shelve. It looks like it is easy to use. We recycle all the time and are very lucky that it gets picked up once a week at the end of our drive.
    Have a great week! Visiting you today I'm your next door neighbour @ Kim's party!
    All the Best,

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Nice Post and Nice idea also to do recycling . Here are shown some of the very good containers that can be used for storing large amount of products. There are various firms that provide such products online also but for some best quality product contact SSI Schaefer the are leaders in making these plastic bin products.

    handheld bulk plastic bins | handheld collapsible plastic bins


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