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Recycling Tips for Small Spaces

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So you want to recycle, but don’t think you have the space?  Finding places in your home to store your recyclables is easier than you think.  Remember, when you recycle, you are reducing garbage, so your overall waste does not increase. The trick is to get creative about separating it.

  • Purchase a divided waste container for your kitchen. These often have the same footprint as regular trashcans, but offer the added convenience of separating recyclables from garbage. Models which slide out from within cabinets are also available.
  • Look for a stackable option. Many companies are now making special stackable recycling containers which minimize the floor space that they use. Some even include carry handles.
  • Try over-the-door hanging baskets. Often the best choice for a kitchen or pantry door, these can be customized to hold two or three removable  baskets.
  • Customize an inexpensive closet organizer. If you cannot find a bin to match your decor, consider starting with am inexpensive, solid-colored two drawer organizer. You can paint it or wall paper it to match. The drawers give you a place to separate trash from recyclables. Just be sure to choose drawers which are waterproof and washable.
  • Place two small wastebaskets under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. This is where we tend to have both types of solid waste. In other places, such as under your desk, use your container only for recycling. Carry other types of waste to your kitchen.
  • Hang a pretty re-usable bag on your kitchen or pantry door. Use it to gather up your recyclables, and even to carry them to the central collection bin. A woven basket with handles is another alternative.
  • Use the space under chairs. A flat basket or bin stows easily and may be all the space you need for clean recyclables-- especially paper and cardboard.
  • Create a new habit! Don't let recyclables pile up. Each night after dinner, walk them to the central collection point. You'll get exercise.  Take the dog too!
  • Work through your association, Board or parents to enlist the help of students in your building to create a recycling valet service. You'll be happy to have the recyclables cleared away from your living space, and they'll be happy to earn community service hours or points. Here's how it works:
    • Students are given the assignment based on rules that the building or community establishes. The objective should be to give students equal chance to participate and earn hours, and to reward those students who complete the job well.
    • If possible, the community provides the students with gloves to wear and a rolling cart to make transfer easier. Students may also use a rolling wagon.
    • Communities may opt to proved special re-usable bags to tenants, or special hang-tags for the doorknobs.
    • Tenants place bagged recyclables outside their front doors by a designated hour several times per week.
    • Students (often working in pairs or with parents to ensure safety and make the job easier) collect recyclables and transfer them to the central disposal point, and then report in to the office or to a Board representative.
    • Community service points are awarded. Some communities also recognize students in their own special ways.
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