Do you ever get overwhelmed by all the various waste streams that need to be managed in your home? Have you ever thrown something in the garbage just because you weren’t sure what to do with it or didn’t have a spot to store it until you could figure it out? We’ve all been there. Let’s talk about how to set yourself up for success when it comes to waste management at your home.
Things like batteries, plastic bags/film, lightbulbs, scrap metal, and food waste all have special collection programs and should be kept out of the garbage but can’t go in your household recycling bin. If you don’t have a place to put them it’s hard to stay organized. Having a central location where you have convenient storage for various waste streams can help you to be successful.
Start by assessing how many storage solutions you will need and what size they should be. For example, your storage for plastic bags/films should probably be larger than your area for batteries. Find some containers, baskets, bins, crates, or buckets that are appropriately sized for the materials you would like to organize. What can you find around the house or in your recycling bin to reuse for this purpose?
Next, figure out what location is best for you. You want it to be convenient to use. Ideally, it is located near your existing garbage/recycling area to make the transition to new habits easier. Do you want everything in one location, or do you need two separate locations? For example, you may want to organize scrap metal, batteries, and lightbulbs in a more out of the way location as these are not common everyday items. I would recommend that you locate both your food waste collection and plastic film collection in a convenient location either in the kitchen or very nearby as these materials you are likely to encounter in your day-to-day routine.
Next, organize your collection containers in a convenient and eye-catching way. You want something that is easy to access and convenient to use. Do you have existing shelving around that you can use? Do you have some milk crates that you can turn on their side and zip tie together to create cubbies? It’s always best to reuse items that you may already have around the house. Get creative! At my house, I use a small old kitchen island as a station to organize some materials for recycling and reuse. It fits conveniently next to the garbage and recycling bins. If you don’t have anything around the house that you can reuse, check second-hand before buying new.
Do you have a creative solution for keeping waste materials organized? We’d love to hear about it!