Making Recycling Easier

I came across a new bin that Recycling symbol with 'RECYCLING CONTAINER' gold embossing on black plastichas been designed to make recycling easier than conventional bins that are used in commercial, institutional and public settings.

The Meridian Envirobin is split 70:30 in favour of recycling. 🙂

It got me thinking about how your bins are set up at home and work.

Do your bins make recycling – and putting the right ‘waste’ in the right bin – easy?

I like the way the much larger recycling part of the Envirobin is open whereas the smaller ‘rubbish’ section has a lid.

This means that it is more effort to use the ‘rubbish’ bin than the recycling bin…

but it also may mean that people just throw all their ‘waste’ into the recycling bin, contaminating the recyclables. This has certainly been my experience with waste management at events…

People just throw their ‘waste’ into which ever bin is easiest…unless they have someone standing there instructing them (like the Wastebusters who do this at Australia’s National Folk Festival).

Like me, the Folk Festival aims to have zero waste.

And at my home, we have similar waste-handling arrangements to that at the Folk Festival.

We have 1 smallish bucket with lid on the bench for everything that goes in the compost bin (organics). Anything that has ever lived goes in here, except for animal fat and bones.

When we have fine fresh fruit and vegetable scraps (such as when we have used the juicer) – and the worms need feeding – we just take the scraps straight out to the worm farm as needed.

We have 2 bins for recyclables that can go in our recycling bin. They live under the sink and have no lids (they wouldn’t fit with the plumbing!) This makes putting recyclables in very easy – just open the door and toss.

We are very lucky in Canberra that we can put anything plastic that holds its shape into our recycling bin. That includes toiletry tubes, plastic biscuit trays, and ALL plastic containers as well as all sorts of hard plastic bits and pieces that would normally just be ‘thrown out’.

And our bins are for co-mingled recyclables, so all our recyclable glass, paper products, cans and aluminium can be tossed in the one bin.

This makes recycling soooo easy, because we don’t have to think about or look at the plastic item to work out which bin it goes in. 🙂

And finally, we have a standard, flip-top pedal rubbish bin for the other things that we can’t recycle.

Household recycling under sink

Every few weeks, we transfer the contents of the inside bins to the wheelie bins outside for collection…our wheelie bins are rarely even half full, so timing of collection isn’t critical.

In practice, perhaps it is a little too easy to put things in the recycling bins. From time to time I find someone has put something that should go in the rubbish bin in the recycling bin. It’s good that they want to recycle everything, but their efforts sometimes need fine-tuning…just like at the National Folk Festival! 😉

However, there are limits to what we can put in our household bins.

Nevertheless…lots of other things can still be recycled…it just takes a bit more effort. We take unwanted clothes, shoes, furniture and bric-a-brac to a local church or charity for resale. And lots of other things like ink cartridges, batteries, mobile phones, and e-waste (TVs and computers) are recyclable through other schemes and facilities.

This usually means we have to take those recyclable things to the appropriate place. For many things these places are in nearby shops, which is pretty convenient…just not as convenient as having a bin at home.

How does recycling work in practice at your place? Leave your comments in the Reply box below…or send me a voice message by clicking on the tab on the right.

Till next time…be gentle to yourself and our world!

[Post updated 9 December 2015. Link update 9 September 2016.]


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