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Tips to finally organize your recycling

The more organized your household recycling system is, the more likely your family is to use it.

Mom and son recycling

Make a plan

How you organize your recycling hinges on three important things according to life organizer and sustainable living advocate Debra Baida.


Happy family recyclingHow does your local municipality require items to be separated?

Every community has its own set of recycling requirements and restrictions, and not every area supports every type of recycling. Find local recycling centers for your trash — from batteries to Christmas trees — with the Glad Recycle It search tool.


How much space do you have?

“How you organize your recycling depends on what your home looks like,” says professional organizer Alison Kero, owner of ACK! Organizing. “Using bins to separate recycling and keeping it in a spot that’s close to where you recycle works best.”


How can you make recycling easy and accessible for all members of your family?

“The less ‘traveling’ you and your family have to do in order to recycle quickly, the easier it is to actually do it,” says Kero.

  • Keep a recycling bin for paper where you keep papers and review mail, such as your home office.
  • Keep a bin for cans and bottles in your kitchen or pantry.
  • Keep a large canvas bag or small trash can in the family room so you can quickly toss items to be sorted later.
  • Keep a bin for unused clothing in the closet or under the bed so it’s easy to reach but out of sight. When you’re ready, just grab the bin and take it to the donation site.
  • Keep a large receptacle under the kitchen sink or in the garage for specialty items such as batteries and electronics.

Is your recycling bin recycled?

“It is so ironic that people don’t use bins made from recycled material for their recycling,” says environmental columnist Kristin Arrigo, author of Seasonal Home Repair Checklist: Eco-Alternatives for Maintaining Your Home.

  • bamboo hamperChoose plastic bins wisely. A receptacle Eco-innovator TerraCycle upcycles non-recyclable products and converts them into new products — a receptacle made from 100 percent recycled plastic is the perfect bin for your eco efforts.
  • Consider stylish receptacles. “If you’re not the plastic bin type, check out containers made of renewables such as bamboo or sea grass — both are great renewable resources,” says Arrigo.

“A bamboo hamper or laundry basket — with your recycling plastic bag inside — will hold your recycling in an inconspicuous way,” says Arrigo. A pretty sea grass recycling bin is great for small areas and will go with the flow of your kitchen décor.

Line your bins

Whether your bins are practical or stylish, it’s important to use appropriate recycling bags inside them. Glad Recycling Tall Kitchen Trash Bags are available in both clear and blue to satisfy various municipal requirements. Strong built-in handles make it easy to lift and carry even the fullest bag of recyclables ($6, Amazon).

No matter what types of recycling bins you choose or how you arrange them around your home, the ticket to success is getting the whole family to buy in. Discuss the benefits of recycling and encourage them to get involved.

More practical ways to go green at home

10 Easy ways to minimize your household waste
Take the paper towel-free challenge
Top 20 green products for your home

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