As a proponent of green living, one of the first things I recommend to people who want to start making their lifestyle more sustainable is to start recycling. Of course, if you’ve never done this before, it can be difficult to know how to get started.
There are the obvious questions: Does your community even offer recycling? What materials can be recycled? Do you have to sort those materials? Is curbside pickup available, or will you have to drop the recyclables off at a central location yourself?
Well, you’ll have to do your homework on that part. In all the places I’ve lived, I’ve done some variation of all these things: sorting, washing, curbside pickup and personal dropoff. There is no “right” way. You’ll just have to find out what works in your community. But once you’ve got the details sorted out, the next step is to actually start recycling at home. Even if you’re already doing it, there are always ways to streamline the process.
I always suggest creating a recycling station somewhere in your home so that you can get the whole family on board. If everyone knows that recycling is a priority and you give them a convenient way to do it, they’re a lot more likely to get on board. Thankfully, The Home Depot and Rubbermaid have a wide variety of recycling options no matter your preferences, and I’ve teamed up with them for America Recycles Day to offer you some options that could work for your lifestyle, whether you need to recycle at home, or even if you’re trying to start doing it at work. You can find all of these options at HomeDepot.com.
So what’s your family’s recycling style?
Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind
Perhaps you’re not a fan of the idea of looking at your recyclables. Trust me. I get it. I don’t want to see mine either. In that case, you’ll love Rubbermaid’s Hidden Recycler from HomeDepot.com. It is a simple, but sturdy bag with a frame and lid that is designed to be mounted inside a cabinet door. That way, you can drop in your recycling, close the door and never have to look at it.
The bag is made from 65% post-consumer resin — which means it is eco-friendly in itself — AND it’s machine washable. So when it inevitably gets grimier than you’d like, you can solve that problem easily. Plus, the bag has a handle, which makes it portable and perfect for transport either to your larger curbside recycling bin, or even to your municipal recycling station.
Maybe you have to sort your recycling into two distinct categories. Try the Rubbermaid 2-in-1 Recycler from HomeDepot.com. As the name implies, this solution has two bins — larger on top and smaller on the bottom. The top unit has a handle that folds away, which makes it easy to remove for emptying into your larger recycling bin or for transport. The lower bin tilts forward so you can easily get to it, and it also can hold an 8-gallon trash bag in place. You could use the lower bin to sort a different type of recyclable material, and you can also remove it and carry it with a handle.
This would’ve been particularly useful to my family a few addresses ago when we had to sort our recycling into two categories: paper/cardboard and everything else. Instead, we’d spend a lot of time sorting on recycling day because we only had a single bin.
Alternatively, though, you could use this container to keep your trash and recycling in a single spot. Maybe the kids will be more likely to remember to recycle if the bin is attached to the trash can. Put a bag in the larger lower container for trash, and keep all the recycling up top. If you have a single-stream system, where you don’t have to sort your recyclables, this would be perfect. Or if you’re in an office where no one wants to go hunting for a recycling bin to get rid of an empty water bottle, they’d probably appreciate the ability to get rid of their trash and recycling in one trip.
But maybe neither of those covers your household needs. Maybe you have an awkwardly sized space where you need to set up your recycling, or perhaps you’d prefer to keep it outside the back door, or even in the garage. Then the Rubbermaid Stackable Recycling Bins from HomeDepot.com might make more sense. There are bins in three different sizes, and you can stack and interchange them based on your needs. If you have to sort recycling into a bunch of different categories, having a bunch of smaller containers all stacked together would make that so much easier for you.
They also come with stickers, so you can label each container for paper, plastic, glass, or whatever else you need to sort. But to make this option even more attractive, each one has a flip door to make it possible to load and unload them from the front. And the three available sizes means that you can customize your setup very specifically for your available space.
Final Recycling Tips
Regardless of how you choose to set up your recycling station, there are a couple of things you can do to streamline the process.
- Always rinse jars, bottle, cans and plastic containers before putting them in your recycling bin. This will help prevent mold and smells and is often required by your municipality.
- Collapse cardboard containers, like cereal or pasta boxes, and crush paper egg cartons to save space.
- Keep your bins clean with soap and water so you don’t attract pests — especially for your indoor bins.
Once you’re ready to go, head to HomeDepot.com, where you’ll have more than 40 different Rubbermaid recycling products to choose from.
Disclosure: I’ve received compensation from Rubbermaid and The Home Depot for my time and efforts in creating this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.