Set Up an Easy Recycling System
On average, Americans recycle less than a third of our waste. If we doubled our efforts and recycled 60 percent, we'd save 35 million barrels of oil a year. The best way to get your whole family involved in the recycling effort is to set up a system that's easy to use. Color-code and label bins with pictures if necessary, and post instructions where everyone can read them.
Create Recycling Incentives
Offer kids the incentive of keeping the refund for washing out, organizing and redeeming the bottles and cans.
Know What to Recycle
Whether your community collects recyclables at the curb or you bring them to a recycling center yourself, get a list of what they take, what you're required to sort and what can be crushed. That will determine the number and size of containers you need.
Use Recycling Bins
Check your city or town's Web site or call 1-800-cleanup to find the recycling center nearest you. Some communities provide recycling bins for curbside collection, but you'll probably want to keep the muddy bins outside and set up a sorting or collecting center inside.
Stay Close to the Kitchen
Locate your recycling center as close as possible to the source of most of the waste: the kitchen. Building it into your kitchen cabinets is ideal. Cabinet makers now offer a great pull-out drawer or even corner carousels with specially made plastic bins to sort recyclables and keep them out of sight and out of the reach of small children and pets.
Other Recycling Spots
If you don't have room in your kitchen, stack or line a shelf with dedicated bins or baskets in the mud room, laundry room, basement or garage, or convert a closet into your recycling center. Keep the can crusher, extra bags, twine, scissors and any other tools and supplies there.
Storing Sorted Materials
If your recycling center is far away and you don't go very often, store sorted materials outside the house in tightly covered bins or barrels. Make sure containers are well-rinsed to avoid attracting pests and to keep recycling a pleasant job for everyone.