Living Space: Make home recycling easy, convenient

Nov. 10, 2011 at 5:10 a.m.

Recycling is becoming standard in many communities.

Recycling is becoming standard in many communities.

By Kathryn Weber

The complaint about recycling heard most often is that it's inconvenient and messy. But it doesn't have to be that way. A few quick changes, and you can set up an attractive and convenient home recycling center. Better still, by making things convenient, your family will be less likely to toss recyclables in the trash - and you'll be in tune with National Recycling Day on Tuesday.

Many of the products we use routinely in daily living get thrown away. Simply preparing a meal quickly generates trash. That's what makes the kitchen a natural spot for a mini recycling center (Many times, no one wants to tramp out to the garage just to get rid of a soda can).

To encourage everyone in the house to recycle, it's important to take a dual trash approach. Keep a receptacle for recycling right next to the regular trash can. That way, it's less likely recyclables will end up in landfills.

Many dual trash cans are available today, even some three-section models. They can cost $50 or more, but a specialty container isn't necessary. A $10 bin will work just as well.

If you do opt for two separate containers, the key is to buy a recycling can that's slightly smaller than your regular kitchen trash can and a different color. A green or blue container with recycling arrows is a nice choice if your other trash can is light-colored. Also, use different-colored liners for the two containers.

Once the recycling container fills up, take it out to your recycling center in the garage, mudroom, yard or alleyway.

Another key to recycling is space. Most garages have little open space, which is what makes vertical recycling containers so handy. These can be found in a variety of sizes and start at around $10 (check, Once full, they can be emptied into the large municipal containers or loaded into the car for a trip to the recycling center.

Overlooked recyclables

In addition to sorting and recycling items, such as plastic, metal cans and drink containers, glass and paper, keep a container at hand for other less-often recycled items. This could include used eyeglasses, dry cleaning bags and hangers, cell phones, batteries and paint.

Do you have items you're not sure if you can recycle, or you don't know where to take them? has an online recycling locator that lets you enter the items you want to recycle and your ZIP code to help you find the nearest location that will take them.

If you make recycling easy, you'll make it a habit.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website,



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