Even if your city offers curbside recycling, you can make the task of sorting your recyclable materials much easier by setting up your own at-home recycling center. Once you see how simple it is, you can take advantage of local recycling programs that will even pay you and award you for your efforts!
Set-up of your at-home recycling center is a breeze, and the materials you will need to get it started are low in cost and easy to obtain at your local hardware or home improvement store. Having a special place designated for sorting and storing recyclable materials until you are ready to bring them to your local recycling center helps reduce the amount of time you invest in this daily chore.
What You Need:
1 – Sturdy plastic containers with lids: trash cans, storage bins or recycling-specific containers.
2 – Trash bags to line your bins and use to transport your recyclable items.
3 – Something to label your bins: paper labels, stickers, duct tape and a heavy-duty marker.
4 – Utility knife for breaking down boxes and larger items.
Location, Location, Location
The first and most important step is to find an area that will be suitable for your at-home recycling center. Depending on the size of your house or apartment, you might want to use an area in the kitchen, the inside of a storage closet, a spot in the garage or a portion of your laundry room. Make sure the area is convenient and easy to get to and that your bins won’t interfere with the other work done in that space.
While there are special containers available designed to help increase consumer recycling at home, some of them can be quite costly. You can use anything – trash cans, plastic storage bins or whatever you have on hand. Recycling an old plastic container to be used for recycling is pretty cool thing too! Make sure to label these containers using sticky duct tape, sticker labels or paper labels that are affixed and marked according to the items you will put in each bin. Think about the items you will be recycling and create a labeled bin for each type – ex: plastic, paper, aluminum, glass, etc.
Good Recycling Habits
Recycling shouldn’t be a ìdirtyî job. Build a good habit of always washing out glass jars, drink cans, metal food storage cans – and don’t forget to remove the labels. Separate ferrous (magnetic) metals from non-ferrous (non-magnetic) metals such as aluminum as they will be recycled separately at the local recycling center. Flatten or crunch the cans to conserve storage space. Hint: keep aluminum cans separately from other aluminum products. Instruct your roommates or family members on proper recycling habits to help keep your recycling area clean, neat and well-sorted.
Recycling doesn’t just happen, it’s something we think about when we purchase items in the store, use them in our homes and then clean, sort and store them for recycling later. When you shop for groceries or other home-use items, look for bottles, cans, jars and other containers that have the recycle symbol on the product. Certain types of glass cannot be recycled including broken glass, light bulbs, Pyrex, drinking glasses, windows and mirrors.
Following the Rules
Before you start your storing system it’s a good idea to visit your local recycling center. Some centers require paper to be sorted by white, mixed-color and newspaper, while others have the ability to take it all at once. Find out if your recycling center takes magazines, brown grocery bags, cardboard boxes or other types of paper products before you start storing them. Ask about size limits so you know how far you should break down boxes before recycling. The more prepared you are ahead of time, the easier it will be to recycle your materials every time you visit your local recycling center.
If you live in the Southern New England area, bring your recyclable materials to Mid-City Scrap Iron & Salvage in Westport, Massachusetts. In 2009, Mid-City Scrap Iron & Salvage launched a recycling incentive program called The Recycling Rewards Program. This program rewards residents for every pound of metal recycled with Mid-City Scrap. Call us toll-free at 1-800-334-4789 or call us locally at 1-508-675-7831 for hours of operation or information on our Recycling Rewards Program.