How can I make recycling easier at home?

You guys, I have a confession – I’ve been creating more to-landfill waste than normal over the last few months and I don’t really know why.

In our old house, it was rare that the landfill bin was even a quarter full when it was emptied but here, it’s always over half full, two-thirds full by the time it’s emptied. That’s a lot of rubbish.

I think there are a few things at play – we’ve been doing a lot of work on the house & garden which has generated waste. We’ve had a lot of deliveries related to that, so more packaging waste than normal. And, most important, as we’ve technically moved cities, the balance of what we can recycle has changed too – we can recycle glass now but can’t doorstep-recycle plastic or corrugated card. (We’re more likely to reuse glass jars etc and we’ve had a lot of card because of the DIY/deliveries.)

But I think it also feels harder for us to recycle than it used to be – we have to separate out the recycling more, our compost bin is three flights of stairs away from the kitchen, we’re eating in more so creating more food-related waste (although not specifically food waste) and even though the house is bigger, it feels like it has less bin space in the kitchen (so can’t separate in there) and we haven’t got any cellar space like we used to have for medium-term storage of items to be reused. Excuses, excuses.

Almost needless to say, I want to solve this situation! Becoming a zero waste household isn’t feasible for us but I’d like to cut down a lot, preferably down to less-than-the-old-house waste levels.

Some ideas I’ve had:

  • reduce! The first wave of DIY stuff has mostly come to an end so that’ll cut down a lot of waste and also make it easier for us to bake/cook more at home & cutting down on food packaging
  • get multiple bins (or a single divided bin) in every room to separate recycling on the spot (we already have multiple bins in some rooms and it’s a great help)
  • get a covered bin in the front yard for stuff to take to recycling facilities at the tip (at the moment, we’ve got stuff in carrier bags – it looks untidy and isn’t waterproof)
  • free up some space in the store room (the closest thing we have to a cellar) and half-a-garage to allow more storage space for reusables
  • set aside a specific box for charity shop stuff and donate the contents regularly
  • research an animal poo solution! (Something more like a bin to break it down rather than a cork to stop it coming out in the first place.)

But what else can I do?

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4 Responses to “How can I make recycling easier at home?”

  1. Alice says:

    Use card as mulch in the garden – it’s great for suppressing weeds either on a bit you don’t intend to dig over until next year or around the base of fruit bushes etc.

    Or just rip it up and put it in the compost bin?

  2. Debi says:

    I admire your diligence. Keep refining it and you will find the best solution for you.

    Simple is what works best for me. I have one light weight recycle container by my one interior trash can. I put all my recyclables in it, then sort them at my recycle center (we don’t have curb-side pick up).

    I have one kitchen compost container (a bowl with a lid) and when it fills or gets yucky, I dump it outside in my compost bin then.

    I have one on-going box for charity that sits by the front door. I don’t like the look of that but I’m currently purging things so it’s temporary. When that box is full, I put it in my vehicle, ready to be dropped off during another errand.

    I have enough property that I have an animal waste compost spot located rather far from everything else.

    I said simple. I guess it’s not entirely simple, but I found what works to prevent me from getting lazy and putting stuff I shouldn’t in the landfill.

  3. Bobbie says:

    The convenience of recycling is very important. I live in the country and we don’t have curb side recycling and probably never will during my lifetime. The best answer for me is to find reuses wherever I can and minimize the amount of trash/rubbish I have. That is why your site is so important to me. I’ve gleaned so many good ideas for reuse. Thank you.

  4. Cipollina says:

    I’ve seen bottomless metal bins dug down in the soil on lawns for animal poop. One had a handsomely painted lid that told what the hole in the ground was for. Every deposit gets covered with sawdust and a sprinkling of DE. When the bin is full it’s left there for a couple of years to mature and then the bin is removed (which is easy since the contents has shrunk with almost two thirds) and the hole is backfilled and ready to receive a tree or a shrub who’ll love the nutritious compost. In the meantime a second bin has been dug down and is being filled.

    I use cat litter made from recycled newspaper which I use as mulch directly around trees, shrubs, and non-edible perennials after removing the poop. A compost bin system according to Joseph Jenkins’ “Humanure Handbook” is in the plans. I wish I had a soil deep enough to use the dug-down bin method, but, alas, I have solid mountain only half a metre down.

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