Doing your part to “green” up the planet may be overwhelming at times. When faced with colored glass, clear glass, pizza boxes, Styrofoam peanuts, food scraps, soda cans, and recycling icons on the bottom of just about everything you touch, it’s no wonder you’d like to just go back to the old way of doing things. Do you remember when everything was referred to as “garbage,” deposited in one waste container in the kitchen, put out on the street into one large can, and picked up by only one type of truck at your curb? Those days are long gone, but don’t worry – you don’t need to take out a second mortgage in order to create a well-organized garbage and recycling center.
Look behind typical lower kitchen cabinets and what will you find? The traditional answer would be pots and pans, cereal boxes, or maybe even a dishwasher in disguise. Instead of fighting with plumbing pipes as you try to squeeze out a spot for both trash and recycle bins under the kitchen sink, take a step to your right or left and see what cupboards can be converted to a hidden area for garbage and recycling. The unit shown below mounts to a door along with drawer-like gliders, making it easy to pull the bins toward you and drop things in. This solution also allows someone to use the sink without having to step aside when one of the kids wants to throw something away.
Avoid Touchy Situations
If you can’t spare cabinet space to hide your trash and recyclables, don’t have room for more than one small bin under your sink, or you are renting and can’t make modifications, there are other options to explore. One option is to find a corner not too far from your kitchen work triangle to place a classy, dual functioning garbage and recycle can. The one shown below has a huge advantage; your hands and feet can be free as you wave an invisible wand of motion near the bin, magically lifting the top for you to drop things into either the garbage or recycle side of the unit. The “touchless” mechanism keeps your hands away from germs and sticky things that can be transmitted when lifting the lid of a traditional container. The bag inside is also hidden, and the unit has an energy-saving feature to help the batteries last longer.Picture via amazon.com
Move it on Out …
To the garage, laundry room or back porch. If you make regular trips to big-box stores, you probably have lots of recyclables and less garbage. What are you to do with all of the cardboard boxes, empty water bottles and stacks of magazines that are months, if not years, old? Maybe it’s time for the recycle bins to have a place they can call their own. Stack them up near your garage or another outdoor entrance, and you’ll have corralled the various types of recycling into one vertical space, yet made it easy enough to carry the individual bins out to the bigger ones on garbage day.Picture via lowes.com
Haste Makes Waste
No matter what type of recycling and garbage you process each week, take a close look at how much and where it is generated. Do this based on the size of your family and your current living habits, and do it before you go out and purchase a fancy container or think about remodeling your kitchen.
- Are your current needs short term?
- Will the family be expanding or shrinking soon? Will you be changing your cooking habits (eating out more than in), or changing how and where you shop, for anything and everything?
- Do you prefer online shopping, or purchasing from traditional brick-and-mortar stores?
- Have you recently revisited your city’s policies on what should and should not be recycled?
Once you’ve answered some of these questions, you will be able to successfully tame you trash and ready your recyclables.
Just some “food” for thought.
Laura Leist, CPO
Organizing with Laura