Recycling 101

by Amanda Hearn · 12 comments

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Let’s start with where. If you don’t have curbside recycling, you might think you can’t recycle, that it is just too hard, or that your house just won’t make much of an impact.

Start by clicking the image to the right. It will take you to Earth 911 where you can type in your zip code, or the zip code of a town you frequent (go to town for work?)

Click on what you want to recycle (plastics are an easy option) and find the nearest recycling center. Click on the name and it should tell you what all they accept. If the first one you try doesn’t take all of the things you need it to, try another.

Our closest drop off only accepts a few things, so we take it a town over where they will take everything imaginable.

Recycling is not hard!

We have a single family home, so we have room here. Not a ton, but we do have room. For us, it is convenient to set up a trash can and a few buckets to sort our recycling in.

We have a trash can for plastics (sadly, so many things come in plastic, despite our efforts to reduce it’s use), and and a bucket (for each) for soda cans, newspapers, magazines, food cans and glass. That might sound like a lot, but it takes up maybe a 3×3 square in our basement. It’s not much and sorting is important.

Once every month or so, my husband loads up the car and totes it down to the recycling drop off. That’s it! It’s easy, no hassle!

What about impact?

It’s insane! When we started recycling, I thought that it would make a difference, but I had NO idea how much of a difference.

We use to set out at *least* one full can of trash every week. Depending on what went on, it could be two. I’m ashamed to admit this, but it is true.

We started recycling and I kid you not, we *might*, at the most, go through two cans in a MONTH. Honestly, we don’t even need to set out a can each week. Most weeks, we have about the equivalent of a grocery bag or two full of trash.

It still amazes me.

So, tell me! How do you recycle? Sort? Etc?

If you are up to it, please leave a comment with your tips, how-tos and/or what works for you. It might help someone else make the transition a little easier or improve the convenience of what they are already doing πŸ™‚

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Amanda Hearn

Amanda Hearn

Founder of The Eco-Friendly Family, design geek, serial tanktopist, content creator, mother, coffee addict, & lover of fun. I am also a partner at Green Child Magazine & Put A Cup In It!
Amanda Hearn
Kara - Wife, Momma, Doula December 3, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Recycling should be my middle name. And no, I am not afraid to call you out on NOT recycling if I come to your house.

We have curbside recycling and they make it easy on us. EVERYTHING goes into ONE bag and then our city takes it. We recycle EVERYTHING! Paper, junk mail, plastics (1-7), bags, glass, cardboard…you name it! I take my batteries to work and they recycle them.

We put our trash out once every two weeks. I love to recycle and enjoy putting two HUGE recycle bags out every week.

The kids enjoy taking part as well and if they see something in the trash that should be recycled…they make sure someone knows πŸ™‚

MrsEAM December 3, 2009 at 7:37 pm

There is no curbside recycling in our neighborhood, but fortunately our county takes everything. We have a HUGE garbage can in the garage to put plastics, glass, and cans in (we don't have to sort either!), plus two Rubbermaid containers for newspapers and magazines and another one for cardboard. Once a month or so, my husband and I load up the recycling and take it to the transfer station. It's easy-peasy! We usually do it on a Saturday morning and then go get breakfast. I think it's a great habit to start, esp. now that we have a little one.

Elisabeth December 3, 2009 at 7:37 pm

There is no curbside recycling in our neighborhood, but fortunately our county takes everything. We have a HUGE garbage can in the garage to put plastics, glass, and cans in (we don't have to sort either!), plus two Rubbermaid containers for newspapers and magazines and another one for cardboard. Once a month or so, my husband and I load up the recycling and take it to the transfer station. It's easy-peasy! We usually do it on a Saturday morning and then go get breakfast. I think it's a great habit to start, esp. now that we have a little one.

DrL December 4, 2009 at 3:35 pm

We have curbside recycling for some things, but we are also lucky to have a recycling center less than 2 miles from our home. We have 2 trash cans in the kitchen–one for kitchen trash, and one for recyclable plastics, bottles, and cans. When that gets full, we put it in our can provided for curbside pickup.

My husband also bought 3 stackable recycling bins at Lowes, and we keep them in the garage for office paper/catalogs, newspaper, and cardboard.

As a handy aside, the recycling center is on my husband's way to work, so when things start to fill up, he tosses a bin in the back of his car and drops it off on the way to work or on the way home.

We go through a lot of bottles, and I love being able to recycle them.

stampedwithgrace December 4, 2009 at 3:54 pm

I agree, recycling is easy and rewarding! we have a family of ten, so that adds up to a lot of garbage, but we went from 2 full dumpsters a week to 1, and it's not packed full. we also ended up using cloth diapers with baby #8, one reason to save money but the other to save the landfill πŸ™‚ and I'm enjoying every minute of it! my kids have really gotten into recycling as well!!

~Nerderella December 4, 2009 at 4:49 pm

We don't have curbside here in Georgia, but we did back in Vermont. I was horrified to find out that most people down here don't recycle. I am not a McDonald's or Fast Food person, but one day we stopped in the Burger King on Post. I hadn't been in a fast food place in YEARS, but what horrified me was that they didn't have recycling bins for anything. I know they had them at fast food places back home!

So, we just sort and have our ten year old daughter help. She is always upset that they don't at her school, so she brings her papers that need to be recycled home instead of throwing them out at school. Sometimes she brings other kids stuff home too!

Nicole December 16, 2009 at 3:05 am

I am a avid recycler. We have a 99 gallon bin that is filled every week. Trash only goes out 2 times a month (if even). I also cloth diaper. We have a pull out drawer in the kitchen with two bins to put recycling in. We just dump the recycling into the bins then take the bins out to the large 99 gallon bin stored in our garage. We line our inside drawers/bin with diaper pail liners (planet wise). This way when they are dirty i just throw them in the wash. I do not have to scrub the bins. I can not stand not to recycle even a scrap of paper. when we go visit family that does not recycle i bring everything home!

erythisis June 19, 2010 at 2:39 am

I have two curbside recycling bins, but the variety of recyclables I can put in the bins seems much smaller than when I lived in Michigan a few years back. I might set up a family system for getting the recyclables that can't go in the curbside bins soon, but currently the effort that'd go into such practice would be more than the overall benefits of recycling those items.

I hadn't really considered using cloth diapers as recycling, any more than wearing regular clothes is recycling. But using cloth diapers on my son, and cloth menstrual pads for myself, are things I have found very self beneficial and wallet friendly.

Additionally, I do some gardening in my backyard and have created a compost pile. I may need to contain the compost soon as it is getting large for a loose pile. I look forward to having some homemade black gold to mix in with the clay soil around my house.

I dislike when people become competitive about recycling. Recycling should be done because people feel it's not only easy, but rewarding to do so. Bantering about how someone hasn't matched up to your own efforts doesn't create any converts.

Stacey Kasun - Uncle Bunk's LLC June 20, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I live in your area! We take our stuff into Parkersburg and they only take a few plastics… where do you take yours??

Stacey Kasun - Uncle Bunk's LLC June 20, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I live in your area! We take our stuff into Parkersburg and they only take a few plastics… where do you take yours??

The Eco-Friendly Family - Amanda June 20, 2010 at 5:56 pm

We take ours into Marietta. There on Gilman close to the Washington Street bridge, right across the street from the Marietta HS & College boat houses (the ones they use for crew). 917 Gilman Avenue is the addy.

The site says they only take a few #s, but I called a while back and was told that they take all but styrofoam.

Amanda Hearn June 20, 2010 at 5:56 pm

We take ours into Marietta. There on Gilman close to the Washington Street bridge, right across the street from the Marietta HS & College boat houses (the ones they use for crew). 917 Gilman Avenue is the addy.

The site says they only take a few #s, but I called a while back and was told that they take all but styrofoam.

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