First: Select A Spot
When start setting up your home recycling center it’s best to first decide on a convenient spot so that recycling becomes routine. The kitchen, laundry room or garage might be a good option. If you live far from a recycling center, create short-term storage in your home, and long-term storage in a garage or shed.
Once you have your location picked out, you can then start considering the other important details:
- The number of containers depends on the number of categories you sort. Many cities no longer require sorting by type, so a single receptacle might work. Check your local regulations.
- Keep in mind that containers that are too small may not hold enough to be useful, while large containers may be too heavy to lift when full.
- Instead of buying containers, why not reuse existing ones? Colorful baskets or bins encourage recycling. Or, make a family project out of decorating plain containers with recycled wrapping paper.
What can I recycle?
Commonly recyclable materials found in the typical house include:
- Plastic: Milk, soap, juice, fresh pasta and water containers; grocery sacks, produce bags and other packaging; toys, plastic hangers, trash cans, shelves, baskets, rain ponchos and many other plastic items
- Glass, Steel, Aluminum Cans & Foil
- Aseptic Packaging like drink boxes, soy milk containers, etc.
- Paper: White office paper, corrugated cardboard, newspapers, phone books and mixed paper
What items can be recycled with special care?
Only professionals certified to handle them can recycle these materials:
- Appliances: Old refrigerators, heat pumps and air conditioners
- Rechargeable Batteries: Batteries commonly used in portable telephones, computers, power tools, shavers, electric toothbrushes, radios, video tape recorders and other consumer products
- Motor Oil, Tires & Car Batteries
- Computer Printer Cartridges
- Household Toxics
For specific information about what can and cannot be recycled, check out The Consumer Recycling Guide. It’s always a good idea to check your municipality for recycling regulations. Another good general source for information is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.