Wednesday, February 4, 2009

No Recycle Bin

I know. It makes you sad, doesn't it? Kevin and I live in a small apartment in an average sized apartment complex. There is no recycling pick up. Still, we are avid recyclers and while sometimes it requires a bit of sacrifice, we do what we have to do to avoid enlarging our carbon footprint.

The nearest recycling drop off that takes everything (plastic 1 and 2, aluminum, cardboard, paper) is roughly a 20 minute drive That means we have to make every drive really count. We make as little trash as possible. And when we do make trash, we save our trash. We save it until we know that the trunk and backseat will be stuffed before we make the trek.

In our one bedroom hole in the wall, saving up trash can take up a lot of space! Here are just a few of our tips.
  • Instead of a bin, try a cardboard box. They are everywhere, so you won't have to look too hard. I find enormous clean boxes at my workplace which supplies were shipped in.They serve as my recycle bin, and I don't have to bring back the container!
  • Smash your cans! Not just the aluminum cans, ALL the cans. Aluminum cans buckle easily (save your pop tabs though! That's another post!), but soup and veggie cans can be a little tougher. Use your can opener to remove the bottom of the cans and you'll have a much easier time flattening them.
  • Use market bags. Avoid bringing in what you don't need by keeping your eco-friendly market bags in your car, purse, or bike basket. Every rare once in a while, go ahead and use a brown paper bag so that you can....
  • Have a separate paper recycling container. Keeping paper separate from plastic and metal makes for much tidier recycling areas. Break down cardboard boxes (like cereal boxes) to save space and stand them up in the brown paper bag. You'll be shocked at just how much paper and cardboard will fit in the bag without tearing by sliding your papers in vertically. As a bonus the bag is recyclable too, so there is no bringing back a container after drop-off!
  • Very important! Before you toss something in the recycle bin, consider whether you might have a use for it. I'm a crafter, so tins, glass jars, boxes, zipper pouches and many other things make excellent containers for my knick-knacks and notions. Cereal boxes turned wrong-side out make excellent mailers for small non-fragile items. Plastic jugs from milk or cider can be washed and reused. While waiting for the water to get hot for dishes what have you, why waste it? Use a jug and put that water in the fridge for drinking or boiling later.

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