Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Here's my recycling strategy. What's yours?

This article appears in this month's issue of Abode magazine. Check it out in the stands or at www.c-ville.com.

I want to share some personal home strategies for recycling with you this month. Without an efficient and easy system in place, you may be tempted to “just toss it.” A better answer is to responsibly reallocate all the stuff we humans accumulate daily and thus close the loop.

I confess it took me over a year to figure out a decent home recycling strategy when I moved to Albemarle (unless you call piling the recyclables like an artist’s depiction of the Eiffel tower a strategy). Now I have six sturdy, space-saving, stackable plastic bins. Fortunately, we have a garage; but you really only need the width of one bin, 24", and a high ceiling. If you are feeling extra Betty-like, you could take your bins to swim meets or any event where recycling isn’t currently offered. We’re human, which means we don’t walk the recyclables out to the bins every time, so we have a large canvas basket on the kitchen counter for a once-a-day trip.

We made our compost strategy contained and simple with the purchase of a large outdoor compost tumbler. In the kitchen, I hung a Simple Human container on my pantry door. We toss food waste into 3-gallon biodegradable bags, which can then be transported into the tumbler. An oversized glass cookie jar also works. Container strategies abound, but make sure it’s sealable and easily accessible.

Donate or fix it
I dedicate a closet or attic corner to items for donation. Three or four times a year, we do the recycling circuit—giving away clothing, old electronics, and toys. I’m still waiting for Charlottesville to open a cute small-appliance repair shop like my hometown had. Until then, a box in the garage is dedicated to items that need fixing, like shoe soles and belts. Finally, if I don’t know where to take it, I go to betterworldbetty.org’s recycle search tool.

Now that I've shared my strategy, what's yours?


1 comment:

Lucy said...

Our recycling here doesn't have to be separated, which is great, so we just have a box that sits in the kitchen and empty it into the big trash can when it is full.

For compost we have two largish tupperware containers that sit next to the sink. When they get full we take them out.

We have to method for donation storage. Right now I have a large tub of clothes in our bedroom. We have no attic or basement, or really any closets other than bedroom ones, so we have no where to store anything! We keep a box in the laundry room to put dead batteries.