2 October 2011

Step Down Sunday - Recycling Bins

Step Down Sunday
One of our main priorities when making changes to our life is that they be sustainable.  There’s no point in making quick changes if in a few weeks we’ll give up in frustration.  We really want to integrate this environmentally friendly behaviour into our lives.  So my first project isn’t that impressive, but I’m enormously excited by it.

We’ve been recycling for years, but we’ve never found a system that works for us. First we tried using the materials supplied by our council, but that soon failed.  In St Helens we’ve been given an assortment of recycling containers that are all too big (and ugly) to be kept in the house.
·         Black Box – For Cans & Glass
·         Blue Plastic Bag – For Paper
·         Red Woven Plastic Container – For Plastic Bottles Only
·         Green Wheelie Bin – For Green Waste & Cardboard
·         Brown Wheelie Bin – For Non-Recyclable Waste


So we next tried a set of stacking containers from Tesco.  While they look reasonable, we had a range of problems with them.  First they were awkward to empty.  It took more energy to pull everything out them than it did to fill them in the first place.  Our second problem was that they only fit in the utility room.  We have a big bully of a cat who needs to be locked away while he eats.  This means that it’s a hassle to get to the recycling bins during meal times.  Instead the recycling would build up on the counters making a cluttered mess.

So now I’ve come up with a new solution with these IKEA recycling bins.  I’ve pulled out all the cleaning products from under the sink and replaced them with three bins: one for Glass & Cans, one for Plastic Bottles, and one for Cardboard.  I’ve marked the bins with electrical tape to distinguish them.  The bin hold a surprising amount of stuff, but are still easy to empty into the council approved recycling receptacles.   The final part of my plan is to build a box I’ll attach to the back of the cupboard door for those must have kitchen cleaning items. 

By making better use of my kitchen space, I’ve stopped the recycling from taking over the house.  This really is a big change for us and since I’ve been excited every time I found something to recycle!  Now we just need to reduce how much recycling we produce.

What changes have you made to your life to be more eco-friendly?

If you'd like the code for the Step Down Sunday badge or to learn more about it, go to the Step Down Sunday page.