Recycling in many communities is no longer optional. According to the EPA we each generate close to thirty pounds of trash each week home recyclingthat ends up in local landfills. Much of what ends up in our landfills could be reused or recycled. It’s up to us to see that this happens and learn how to recycle at home.

The main thing that will make your recycling experience easier is to get organized. Contact your local waste municipality and get a list of the items they collect. Different communities accept different materials. Learn what can be recycled and where these things can be returned.

Much of what we toss into a trash can is recyclable. Here’s a partial list:

*Plastic containers such as laundry detergent, bleach and milk jugs. If there is a triangle on the bottom of the container with a number 1-7 in the middle, it’s recyclable.

*Glass food and beverage containers.

*Aluminum and steel/tin cans, aluminum foil and foil containers.

*Newspaper, magazines, cardboard, mail, office paper and books.

*Batteries and light bulbs.

**Much of our uneaten food can be added to a backyard compost.

Again, check with your local recycling facility and ask what they will accept.


Once you are aware of what you will be collecting, select an area in your home to store your recyclables. A piece of furniture such as a table or rolling cart could become your home recycling center. If you have room in a garage or in an area of your backyard larger containers, such as trash cans, can be used.

Designate specific containers for each materials such as a cardboard box for newspaper, a plastic bin for plastics and so on. Laundry baskets, wooden fruit baskets or old kitchen cabinets could have new life as recycling storage units.

Get the family involved and assign specific tasks to each member of the family. Put pictures on each container showing which items go in that particular bin. If you have young ones at home have them draw the pictures; that will really get them involved.

Having run a recycling center for three years I notice that the people who come in with their recycling already sorted enjoy the experience much more than those who have to dig through their trash on site. Recycling doesn’t have to be an unpleasant task. Get organized and then enjoy the fact that you are helping to keep those material out of our landfills.

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