Looking to improve your family’s recycling habits? We’ve found that the key to recycling as much as possible is to make your setup at home efficient. Here are a few of our favorite tips to help improve your recycling game.
- Have your trash can and recycle bin right next to each other.
Having a designated spot for recyclables inside the house rather than lugging your cans and bottles out to the garage every time makes you more likely to properly place these items in the right bin.
- Make your bins visually appealing.
If you don’t like the look of an open-top recycling bin, get a regular trash container with a lid and use it for recycling instead.
- Use a large bin for recyclables and a small bin for trash.
This will help you make the important mindset shift from “I throw things in the trash unless it can be recycled” to “I throw things in the recycle bin unless it is trash”.
- Keep a reference sheet of what can and can’t be recycled on the fridge.
Often people are deterred from recycling, worried they are going to “do it wrong.” Collected items in a curbside bin depend on location, but you might be surprised at some of the things that can now be recycled! Here’s a handy flyer for San Diego areas to refer to.
- Create a designated spot for “Special Recycling” items.
Items like plastic bags, batteries, fabric, and electronics can and should be recycled rather than sent to landfills. Plastic bags can be returned to many grocery stores and Solana Center collects e-waste such as batteries and electronics to be repurposed. Having a designated spot for these items in your home or garage will help make sure they find their way to their proper recycling location rather than get thrown out for the sake of saving space. We suggest keeping an empty plastic bag hanging in your cupboard for easy access which you can fill with other bags as you acquire them. Once it’s full tie the top and throw it in your car to be dropped off the next time you go grocery shopping.
Some people say they’ve given up on their recycling efforts recently, citing the recent reports of the material they’ve been so carefully set aside actually ending up in the waste stream. We know that it’s frustrating to see this kind of behavior from those we entrust our environmental efforts to, but we’d like to offer a salve for your frustration: Consider that the whole recycling life cycle requires a team effort. Your contribution to this effort is to separate the recyclables from the trash! Without your efforts, the recycling process can’t survive. Do your job even when others on the team are phoning it in. At least then you can continue to say that you are doing your part to make the world a healthier place.
We hope this article helps you to begin recycling if you have yet to do so. And if you already are recycling, we hope these tips help you to maximize the efficiency of your efforts!
Blog post written by Solana Center volunteer Mark P.