Itâ€™s not difficult for recycling and garbage systems to get out of control at home. With overflowing bags, and limited space, it may not be long before it is out of control. What are the best ways to create a recycling system that is neat, organized, and doesnâ€™t take up a lot of space?
Andrea Garrett, education coordinator for Valley Waste Resource Management based in Kentville, N.S. offers a few suggestions.
She says before you create a recycling system at home, you should first find ways to reduce the amount of waste you are generating. This then reduces the space you need for your recycling system in the first place.
â€śWhat you throw away and how much of it will determine what works best in your home,â€ť says Garrett.
Start by observing which bags fill up the quickest or sit the longest. If recycling bags are filling up first, you may want to dedicate the biggest space to them, she says. Or if you have smellier waste, like diapers, create a system so that it can be transferred to a larger garbage bag quickly.
1. Buy in bulk
2. Avoid single-use and overpackaged products like coffee pods and mail order food meals. If itâ€™s convenient, itâ€™s usually wasteful too, she says. Be a conscious consumer.
3. Donâ€™t over purchase perishable foods. Making a meal plan will help guide your grocery list.
4. Donate used clothing, household items, books to charity or Value Village.
5. Switch to electronic bills to reduce your paper recycling.
Less waste means it takes up less space.
Once you have reduced the amount of waste, you can then start to think about creating a system. Garrett says there are several ways to reduce the amount of space recyclables take up.
1. Flatten cereal boxes or use them to store food waste for the green cart.
2. â€śI put small tin cans inside larger ones,â€ť says Garrett. â€śThey are the same material, so it doesnâ€™t cause any problems at the sorting facility.â€ť
3. Flatten milk jugs to save room inside the blue bag. The only items not to crush are refundables (your money-back bottles). These need to be returned to the Enviro Depots intact, explains Garrett.
Garrett says itâ€™s not necessary to break the bank to create a good waste system in the house. It just takes a bit of creativity.
1. For example, try using two small dollar store cans under the bathroom sink. Use this to separate toilet paper rolls and shampoo bottles from other bathroom waste.
2. Place two hooks on the back of a closet door where you can hang blue bags in multiple layers, says Garrett.
3. Use smaller containers in the kitchen that can transfer to larger cans or bags in the garage, utility room.
4. Cereal boxes are a perfect way to collect food scraps instead of a larger kitchen bin, says Garrett. This also keeps your cart green cart clean, too.
â€śThereâ€™s no nice way to say it â€” garbage stinks,â€ť says Garrett.
To help avoid this, rinse recycling well, she says. Not only is it needed for the item to be recycled, the longer food or drink sits on the inside of a container, the smellier it gets. Smellier garbage items can also be rinsed, like plastic wrap on fish, or put inside another garbage item like a chip bag or dirty baggie, she says.
Transferring garbage outside and storing it until collection day is an important part of your system, too, says Garrett.
If you are looking for a commercially made system for the home, there are compact, three stream bag-hanging units available at local hardware stores, says Garrett. Store-bought garbage cans are a quick and easy way to supress odours and keep animals out of your bags until collection day. Rats, raccoons, bears and dogs all love smelly garbage, so keep it contained, she advises.
Remember, though, waste reduction is always important to an efficient sorting system in your home, says Garrett. The less waste created, the less there is to throw away.
Learn more ways to reduce waste at www.divertns.ca.