5 Simple Ways to Start Recycling

Some of us have had the experience of living in a town where we are able to commingle all of our recyclables into one big toter.  It’s fantastic — cardboard, paper, plastics, metal, and glass all can be placed in the same bin to be picked up at the curb, destined for sorting at the recycling facility.

And, then there are the places where it isn’t that easy.  Paper needs to be bundled separately, cardboard flattened and tied, and some plastics omitted from the recycling bin altogether.  Not to mention the places that don’t even offer curbside recycling, requiring you to lug your own items to the recycling center.  My guess is that one of these reasons may be why you are not recycling.

So, what is there to do when you want to avoid burdensome recycling, but still want to make an effort to live a more Earth-friendly lifestyle?

Here are 5 Simple Ways to Start Recycling:

  • Reuse Paper – Do you have print outs that you don’t need?  Save the used printer paper and let young kids use the clean side for expressing their inner artist.  No kids?  Consider calling a local day care or preschool to see if they need any used paper for the kids to use.  Still too hard?  Maybe shredding the paper is the easiest way to go.  Then you can use the shreds for filling gift baskets, as packing material, or for composting.
  • Kitchen Scrap Composting – Here me out.  This seems difficult, but it’s one of the easiest things to do once you set it up.  Any home can keep kitchen scraps from the landfill with a vermiculture compost bin, no matter what size home you have.  (Really.  I’ve had one in a small apartment and it was surprisingly easy, space efficient, and had no odor).  Learn how to make a worm bin at Organic Life.
  • Repurpose Clothes – Of course you can find a clothing donation bin at almost any large supermarket or strip mall, but maybe you feel like that is too much effort.  Did you know you can call or register online for groups to come to your place to pick them up?  Purple Heart Pickup or Vietnam Veterans of America offer this service.  If you have items that are beyond reasonable for use by someone else, you can repurpose them by tearing them into strips to use for tying up your tomatoes to plant stakes or cucumber vines to trellises .  You can even just tear them up to make into rags.
  • Rethink Glass jars – So very many uses for glass jars.  You can use them as vases for fresh cut flowers (or, even for silk flowers).  Smaller glass yogurt jars are great for bobby pins, a stack of hair ties, or holding cough drops in you drawer at work.  You can even make tiny terrariums.  Let your imagination run wild…glass jars make everything look like you always meant for it to be contained inside.
  • Plastic potential – As with glass, the possibilities are almost endless.  You can reuse plastic soda or water bottles for small greenhouses when starting seeds.  (Check out this Pinterest board for some great ideas).  You can even use rotisserie chicken containers as mini greenhouses or cloches for your young plants.  You can give kids the bottles and let them make monsters or other crafts as suggested at Fun Family Crafts.

The list of ways to recycle could go on and on.  I hope this helps you get your feet wet with some simple ideas that are easy to try.  Let me know which ones you try.

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