Two tips – Successful recycling at home

recycling-centre-beforeThis week’s Change the World Wednesday challenge has us sorting out recyclable materials that cannot be collected from kerbside.

A few years ago I committed to accumulating as little landfill waste as possible. Within a few weeks I’d failed miserably.


Because my recycling area was not organised. I mean take a look at the photo – wouldn’t that drive you crazy too?

Once I’d spent a few hours designing (I use that word lightly) a purpose-built recycling area, success followed. And I can tell you; it wasn’t rocket-science and I didn’t spend any money. I simply repurposed what I already had.

My recycling area consists of three shelves and a lot of boxes. Each box has the name of an item written on the front so that any visitors to our house, including kids, can use it easily.


I collect items I have to take to bring banks and the local recycling centre such as plastic bottles, tetra pak cartons, batteries, aluminium foil, soft plastics and ‘miscellaneous’ items including light bulbs, broken crockery etc.

Setting up a recycling area is a breeze if you live in a large house with lots of outbuildings, but for most of us, storage is an issue so you’ll have to get creative. Perhaps you need bags that hang on the backs of doors. Maybe you have space outside the back door to stack containers. You might need to create space in a garage, shed or on a balcony…

One of my top tips is to REDUCE the size of your recycling. Compact those plastic bottles, scrunch up the foil, wash and squash your tetra pak cartons and last week we were talking about exercise without the gadgets and gizmos; so CRUSH your tins! You’ll get biceps AND space in your home!


The most difficult item for us to recycle is mixed plastics. We can recycle plastic bottles as long as they are numbers 1 or 2. We can recycle soft plastics like magazine wrapping, toilet roll packaging and carrier bags, as long as they are number 4. But things like yogurt pots (number 5 or 6) or the dreaded number 7 or worse still, ,my personal bugbear, UNMARKED plastics are nigh on impossible. The only solution there comes before you go through the checkout: Vote with your money – leave it on the shelf and find an alternative product…

How do you store your recycling at home and what are your tips for effortless and successful recycling?



  1. nadine sellers on February 16, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    ah, the mighty crusher.. also love to play the foot stomp and the biceps curl..positive reduction is their specialty..i am always surprised when people buy so many toys only to see the children tear up boxes with such’s a natural; old kids like it too..

    i see lots of lid-less plastic containers abandoned by roadsides or given away..why not use those for hidden recycling at bottom of cabinets or pantry (if odorless)

    mrs G keeps the focus on the things we can do at our own pace and capacity..

  2. Small Footprints on February 16, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Your tips are spot-on! Being even a little organized makes the process so much easier. And I absolutely love your tip of voting with our dollars. Many people believe that they are powerless over such issues when in truth companies want our sales and will listen. It doesn’t take long, either … just a bit of time watching their sales fall and they quickly make adjustments. But sometimes it takes them time to figure out why sales are dropping. So in addition to voting with our dollar, I would suggest sending emails (or posting on FB, Twitter, etc.) about why you’re not buying. With social media traveling all over the world in record speeds … those kinds of messages are powerful and effective! Thanks, Mrs. Green!

  3. Mrs Green on February 17, 2012 at 9:46 am

    @nadine sellers: OH yes, I’d forgotten about the shredding cardboard aspect of toning muscles. Mind you, our house bunny is rather good at shredding papers and the like for us!

    @Small Footprints: Love your idea of sharing via social media; brilliant – thanks SF and thanks for hosting another thought-provoking challenge for us all 🙂