We started just doing plastic recycling at the beginning of the year. I got a large laundry basket and put a black bag in it inside my garage.
Whenever the milk, yogurt, juice, margarine, Efferflu’s are finished I rinse out the container and dump it in the laundry basket in the garage. Then once a month I put the bag in the car and drop of at the recycling depot.
Easy as pie.
ADD ON SLOWLY
Once we had the plastic containers down, and could remember easily to rinse and place our containers in the basket, we added glass to the list.
I got a large box, cut it open and whenever a glass bottle, jar or container was empty (and couldn’t be re-used in the house) it was rinsed and placed in the box inside the garage and then added to the load going to the recycling depot.
THEN DECIDE WHAT’S NEXT
Once you’ve got plastic and glass sorted and your routine of removing them from your regular garbage (we have a spot on the counter that things get placed in before we take them to the garage), then you can decide what else to add to the recycling joy.
We added cardboard/tetrapak next.
This is bit more work as you not only have to rinse them out, but you should flatten them out as far as possible. So this means, unfolding boxes and packing flat (cereal boxes, biscuit boxes, cardboard packaging) and then the tetrapak (boxed milk, juice and wine) you need to rinse, and turn out the corners and squash them flat.
RE-USE WHAT YOU CAN
I have always been one of those hoarders of plastic containers of a useful size. Like 2L ice-cream containers, large yoghurt tubs and the peanut butter container. These are all perfect sizes for odds and ends in the garage, toy storage or kitchen left overs etc.
Don’t be afraid of re-using these types of plastic containers, even though they aren’t pretty, they have a hundred different uses and can be utilised all over the home.
DO WHAT YOU FEEL CAN WORK WITH YOUR LIFE
Don’t let the “green brigade” make you feel guilty that you’re not doing enough. By just recycling ONE type of item you are doing MORE than most people. It’s not an easy add-on to your home, but if you make it easy by adding bins with labels, you can teach your kids from a young age how to care for their environment without having to turn into a tree-hugger.
We haven’t moved on to things like metal straws, wax bags for food storage and re-usable coffee cups, there are some conveniences in life I cannot part with at this crazy stage of life (2 kids under 4), but I do take my own bags to the grocery store (when I remember) and I shop with a massive tote bag so much of my purchases go straight in there without having to use a plastic bag, I am also slowly moving the family over to more natural soaps etc.
It’s a process, we cannot be expected to just leap in and spend a fortune on products we have no idea how to use. It takes time for things to become a habit, and if we add one every now and then it won’t feel like you’re changing your whole life at once.
If you have any great ways of recycling or tips on making the home less wasteful, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!