You, our neighbors, are the key to our recycling success! You are the ones who make sure that recyclables actually make it into a blue cart, a recycling dumpster, or a public space container. Without you, the recycling process never gets started.
Make your participation easy and mess-free by developing staging methods inside your home, business or classroom. Staging is the process of collecting recyclables and storing them up until they can be set curbside. Here are a few tips:
Collect where you use. When the container is right at your feet, you are more likely to use it. Placing special recycling collection containers around your home or office at points of use makes recycling easier than if you have only one centrally located container. Consider, for example, placing two matching wastebaskets in your bathroom, one for recyclables such as shampoo bottles and soap boxes, and one for waste such as used tissues. If you have room, do the same in the laundry area, and also in the garage. Don't have room for two? Manufacturers are now making special dual compartment wastebaskets for kitchens and other areas.
Keep your cart inside, if space permits. Your recycling cart is for clean recyclables. If you rinse and avoid putting food or plant materials in your cart, then it should stay relatively clean and bug free. A clean cart can easily be placed inside a garage, laundry area, mud room, vestibule or classroom. Simply fill it as the week progresses and then wheel it outside the evening prior to collection day.
Use your old recycling bin. For those who participated in our City of Fort Lauderdale recycling program prior to 2012, you may still have 18-gallon plastic bins. Those are yours to keep and use as you like. They make great containers for staging recyclables inside. If you have a bin that you no longer can use, feel free to drop it in your recycling cart. The bin is recyclable too!
Use a paper grocery bag. Don't have a lot of space for staging? Don't want to spend extra money on a special inside collection bin? Just visiting? In these cases, it may be more convenient to reuse a paper shopping bag as your recycling collection container. Before collection, just toss the entire thing in your cart. Remember, no plastic bags in the cart please.
Get the kids involved. Young children love having special responsibilities. Designate your youngster as the chief recycler in your household. Ask him or her to watch for items that can be recycled and to take responsibility for moving those to your cart, dumpster or chute. Just remember to place your cart in a safe space which is easily accessible and age appropriate, or to escort children as necessary. Many kids will run back and forth dozens of times per day!
Stage other items too. Recyclables are not the only items that can be saved for proper disposal. Consider the following:
- Bag your old batteries. Keep a specially marked plastic bag next to your new batteries. Each time you make a switch, toss the old ones in the bag. When the bag is filled, drop it at one of our hazardous waste events.
- Dedicate a space for donations. When items are not longer useful to you, they may be useful to someone else. Instead of tossing things in the garbage, consider setting up a permanent donation box, cabinet, drawer or shelf. When it's full, drop the donations at your favorite charity.