Friday, August 28, 2015

Help Wanted: Ideas for Improving Household Recycling

Our local council is overhauling it's recycling program, which requires changing how items are sorted.  I am sure that the changes are for the better, but they come with a different mix of combined curbside items and bins, and that means we need to change up our household habits to efficiently "get with the program".

There are some fantastically clever ideas out there to make recycling convenient, which means folks (like us!) are more like to recycle diligently.  How nifty would it be to have one of those little chutes that whisk your recyclables from the kitchen into waiting bins?  Our house isn't built or positioned in a way that makes that viable, nor do we have a basement or a garage to work with, just primary living space. Like many households, the kitchen is our hub of recycling off-casts, and we currently segregate rubbish, compost, paper, and others using individual bins. We now need to find a way to add another category to split glass from the plastics, as well as a home for the new open-topped collection bin that will hold our amalgamated glass for two week collection. Tricky...

How do you store your household recycling while its in transit between use and collection? 
We would love to hear what does (or doesn't) work for you!

We currently use old-fashioned pedal lidded rubbish bins (different colours) to collect our waste.  The lids are essentials to keep our curious dogs out of trouble. We are definitely not an open-top or flip-top sort of household, much to the dogs' lament.  Compostables simply go into a bowl during kitchen prep and straight to the bin to avoid the need for in-house storage. Adding yet another pedestal bin to separate the glass isn't a great option for our crowed kitchen. As a very old house, replacing them with some of the fancy new options would work, but would also look be out of place (and there is no where to hide). 
Something like this re-purposed toy storage frame and bins (Apartment Therapy) could be styled to fit-in aesthetically and do double duty as extra work space or, on the norizontal, as a bench.  These pedestal recycling bins (BHG) are a slightly more stylish version of our current colour approach.  We can stick with it and find a way to fit in a new bin.  A DIY tilt out style of bin (DIY Swank) would fit right in with our old house if we made a multi-bin recycling center.  We could also sneak in a homemade or prefab bin bench (Hometalk) of some sort.

We currently store the amalgamated rubbish and recyclables outside in (similarly colour-coded) large lidded bins until our council's bag-based collection; however, we will need to find a new home for a combination of bins and bags, including the troublesome glass bin.

 Perhaps we could hide the container in plain sight on the front veranda with a basket (BHG) or bench, or we could DIY a whole outdoor recycling storage center (HGTV) and keep everything store together - discrete and dry.

We haven't yet decided what we think might work best for us in the new system, but will keep you posted on how things turn out!  I feel that it's important that we find something workable and convenient, so as not to slide backwards. We are currently recycling a significant portion of our household waste and, through reduction, recycling and composting, have gotten to a point where the majority of our rubbish is actually generated by our pets...still working on doing better with the doo!

Mini update:  Well, we have been working with the new program for a while now, and still haven't settled into a routine.  The glass tends to get washed as sit on the counter or on the floor next to the other bins until one of us (who am I kidding - its always me!) carries it all out to the bin which is is just sitting next to the other outdoor bins.  Not very tidy, but its  the thought that counts.  Perhaps during the upcoming Christmas break we will get ourselves sorted (no pun intended).  Ideas still welcome! 


  1. Update: I tried many options: our old bins, a bin/basket combo, and lots of other iterations. I was still working through trying to make something work efficiently for us whilst looking nice and keeping smells/pets at bay when hubby surprised me with gift of the king of all rubbish recycling bins (who says romance is dead?). We've been using it for months now and have settled into a fluid system with a few add-ons and tweaks. Stay tuned! I'll share all the details in our July greener home series.

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