Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How to Start Recycling- by eco-Guest Audra

Today, we have the pleasure of hearing from Audra.  Audra has the best recycling system I know of and I asked her if she wouldn't mind giving us a couple pointers.  Audra is a very dear friend of mine and I'm excited to have her here.

Reusable tote bags

Happy Earth Day, everyone! I was super honored when asked to share a little with you about recycling. Our family strives to do our part to be eco-friendly; recycling, cloth grocery bags and using environment friendly cleaning products. There is so much more we could be doing – but with our family its baby steps!

Recycling is easier than every these days. Many refuse companies offer recycling programs and even if they don't, recycling centers are available in almost all cities and towns.

If you are wanting to set up a recycling system in your home- I have a few easy steps to help you on your way:

Step 1: Locate your center

It's easier to keep your recycling habit if you make recycling as easy as possible.  Set your recycling center up in an area that will be convenient for you and your family.  If possible, choose a spot in or near the kitchen- since that is where most solid waste is generated. It could be as easy as getting another trashcan- just for recyclables. Use your imagination- a storage unit in the family room, a corner of the laundry room, a closet, or a few shelves in the pantry.

In our home, our garage is right off the kitchen. So we have our recycling center set up in the garage.


Step 2: Select Storage containers

The number and size of storage containers you need depends on the number of categories into which you must sort solid waste and how often you’ll be making trips to the recycling center or it will be picked up. It's important to check your local recycling requirements so you can sort properly.

Select containers to fit the size of the storage space you have selected, whether it’s drawers, cupboards, shelves or the floor. Take into consideration how much you’re willing to lift. Large containers may be too heavy when full. Small ones may not hold enough to be useful.

In the true spirit of recycling- look around your home and use containers you already have-- baskets, empty cardboard boxes, totes, wooden fruit boxes, laundry baskets, etc.

We use a large cardboard box that our children have decorated with recycling symbols and ‘save the planet mantras’! Get creative!

Step 3: Get everyone involved

Have a practice session for everyone in the family. Decide who will be responsible for what recycling jobs (e.g. helping load the car, helping going to the center to unload, taking tote to the curb, emptying temporary bins).

Color code or put pictures on the containers to help small children when sorting.

If containers are going to be out in the open- find ways to make them attractive. Use old paint or wallpaper to match the room décor. Hide open top containers behind folding doors, blinds, roller shades or curtains.

Provide incentives for family helpers and recognizing what needs to be recycled.

At our house we’ve added recycling to the weekly chore chart. Our refuse service offers an amazing recycling program that allows us to throw all our recycling in one tote (regular-sized roller trash bin provided by them) and have curb-side pickup once a week. We don’t need to sort the materials, but we still wash out tin cans, plastic bottles and such and remove the labels. This helps keep the areas free of insects and odor.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to help take care of our planet. Recycling is one of the easiest ways to contribute. Communities and refuse services are making this easier than ever. I hope these steps help inspire your family to make recycling a part of your life!

1 comment:

Christy said...

Great guest post! RecycleBank is my hero.