Just because your apartment complex hasn’t gone green yet doesn’t mean you can’t. Setting up a home recycling station is an easy project that can help you make a difference in the environment and even earn a little extra cash. Follow these simple steps and you’ll have your own eco-friendly apartment in no time.
1. Chose a location to keep your recyclables.
Many recyclable materials come from the kitchen so if you have the space, this is a great room to place your recycling bins. If you don’t have room in the kitchen, a bathroom, the floor of the hall closet or a patio or balcony can all be used to house recyclables until you have time to take them to the recycling center. Though you can place your bins in different parts of the apartment, your home recycling center will work better if you designate one area to keep everything in.
2. Find your recycling bins.
Bins can be made out of anything: boxes, plastic tubs, old planters or whatever else you have lying around. If it’s possible, hit the middle “R” of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” and find things to serve as your recycling bins instead of buying them. For aluminum, glass and plastic, you’ll want to choose bins that won’t leak or line a cardboard bin well with heavy-duty plastic.
3. Set up your recycling center.
Though modern private or city-run recycling programs often accept recyclables mixed together, if you’re bringing your own items to a recycling center, chances are they’ll need to be presorted. Have a bin each for plastic, glass, paper and aluminum and other metal.
4. Start recycling.
Throwing items in the recycling bins is as easy as throwing them in the trash and much less wasteful. If you only plan on visiting the recycling center every month or so, you’ll want to rinse out containers that used to hold food so that they don’t start to smell. If you line your bins with plastic garbage bags it’ll be easy to gather up your recyclables when it comes time to turn them in.
5. Save and collect.
When your recycling bins are full, it’s time to head down to the recycling center, save the planet a little and collect a little cash. It’s certainly not a way to make big bucks but over time, your recyclables can be traded in for a nice dinner, a night out on the town or a new DVD. If you buy yourself something fun with your recycling money it will encourage you to keep up with the good work.
6. Encourage others.
Help your neighbors set up their own recycling centers. Once you have yours going, it’ll be easy to show others just how little work it really takes to be a standup citizen of plant earth. And keep nagging your apartment complex, city or county to improve their recycling programs as well. It may only take one to make a difference but to effect real change, it’s going to take the collective efforts of all of us.
Tell us about your recycling set up here or on Facebook!