Have you been thinking about adding a recycling system in your home?


Systems keep us sane, save us time and make us more efficient. They work best when they’re well thought out, leaving no stone unturned and every question answered. Have you ever asked yourself, “Does this go in the garbage or the blue bin?” If so, you may have a good recycling system, but not a great one. 


Here are simple steps you and your family can follow to set up a rock-solid system for recycling in your home.


Before you begin…


1-Learn the “rules” 

Recycling rules are different from town to town – city to city. You and your family need to know those rules AND the exception to those rules. For example, do you know all the plastic numbers and the exceptions that go in your blue bin? We can put numbers 1-7 in our blue bins in Ottawa, but not coffee cup lids or Styrofoam labelled #6. And although we can put plastic pails in the blue bin, we need to remove the metal handle beforehand.


If you live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, you can find all your recycling information HERE.


Tip: Find out what you can recycle in exchange for money. Create a “travel” fund for the family with this money, or make it an “allowance” fund for the kids. This money can add up over a year!


2-Find an area in your home to set up your recycling center 

Because most of us have larger recycling bins that are given to us by our towns/cities, we only need to create a smaller system within our home. To make things really simple, set up a recycling station under your kitchen sink. Use small recycle bags like THESE. Make sure they are big enough to hold a day’s worth of recyclables for your household. Since most recycling comes from the kitchen, a system under your sink (if you have the space) works really well. If you don’t have the space, find an area close by to set up the same way. 


TIP: Keep a whiteboard or write the recycling rules on the bins themselves and keep a calendar of recycling days in between the boxes, so you have everything you need in the same place. 



3-Create a routine 

Nightly, after unloading the dishwasher, make a habit of emptying the smaller bins into the larger bins you put out for recycling day. Try to make the person doing the dishes also responsible for taking out the garbage and the recycling from under the sink. When you first start this, create a chore list, so they remember what needs to be done or follow up with loved ones when it’s missed. After a few months, this will become routine. 


TIP: Consider keeping a larger bin for “store drop off” items like electronics etc. (Don’t forget to label where or what store to drop off your items.)

Hope these tips help you with your recycling.



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