Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Recycling center! (& free recycling labels!)

I'm big on recycling. Like, dig-in-the-trash-to-retrieve-recyclables-others-have-tossed-in big. (Sometimes it makes me $$! We take our aluminum cans to the recycling center and cash them far we've made a whopping $19. AND $4 of those were in the form of two dollar bills. Sweet!)

Though I love that we're doing our part to save Mother Earth, since we live in a relatively small apartment (and since we only trek over to the recycling center once a month), our recycling can be a problem. Though we bought these cute and functional organizers from Crate and Barrel, I struggled to find a spot to house them. First I stuck them in the dining area, but they became an eyesore. I needed an enclosed space. Enter the coat closet! It was large enough to house these bags and then some, and I could just close the door on the brimming bags.

Before we set up our recycling center, I researched what can be recycled at our local drop off, and how they suggest you separate items. I found a handy dandy PDF that helped with that (and I printed it and popped it in the closet as a reminder, too!) Note that the PDF includes information on recycling animal hides and antlers....very Montana.

After doing my research, I made some labels for our bags, printed them, and popped them in the plastic sleeves on the front. Here they are looking all pretty:

We also have two lovely heavy-duty bags that I received as gift bags and repurposed for recycling. One holds milk jugs and the other holds white/colored/opaque plastic bottles, since our center requires that they be separated from all clear/green plastics. I love that all of the bags are all easy to wash, and cute, too! They fit perfectly in the closet.

I placed the aluminum can bag right under our awesome 10 can crusher (a Container Store find) so that when we crush the cans they fall right into their proper place:

You also might notice that I stash our reusable shopping bags on some 3M hooks in this closet--it makes it easy to remember them as I'm walking out the door!

I also popped a cardboard file box and an orange container up top to house our magazines (box) and newspapers (container) for recycling.

We still couldn't fit everything in our closet, so there are two other places that house recyclables. One is in the dining room under our sideboard (okay, it's really a sofa table that looked super goofy and dwarfed behind our futon, so I moved it to the dining room).

Unfortunately, we can't recycle paperboard here in Montana, but we can in Missouri--so we still save ours, flatten it, and stash it in this big blue trunk! When we go home, we take some, and we send visitors like our parents or my sister & her hubs home with some, too. We figure when we move back we'll definitely need a moving truck, and we'll have room for the excess paperboard!

I placed a simple cardboard box next to the trunk. We collect all our glass there and drop it off at our Target. Montana doesn't actually recycle glass, but Target has an awesome program in which they collect glass and use their delivery trucks to distribute it to other recycling centers across the US! Originally we were collecting our glass to haul back to MO, but this program makes it a lot easier on us (storing all of that glass was getting to be a pain!) Now I just take our glass over to Target whenever I head there to shop.

And lastly, we store all of our cardboard in the laundry room, since it's bulkier. I usually leave one box assembled, then flatten the rest and place them in the in-tact box. It makes it easier to grab them to take to the center.

So there you have it--that's how we deal with our recycling since we don't have a garage. It's not the loveliest, but it works!

Do any of you need to make your own recycling centers in your home? Just in case, I whipped up these labels for you! One for all of the most commonly recycled objects: aluminum cans, tin cans, cardboard, glass, paperboard, paper, newspaper, and magazines! (Sorry if you're Montanan and you intend to recycling hides...I have no label for you. Yet.)

Click here to download the labels as a PDF. And let me know if you make your own recycling center!

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  1. I love these labels and we're going to use them in our family with our new recycling center! These have been the best labels I have found, especially for all my littles that can't read yet! Thank you! Do you, by chance, have a 'plastic' label? I'd love to have a matching one since we can recycle pretty much every plastic in our area ;)

  2. This is the perfect combination of passion and superior material wrapped up into an easily understandable article.
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