Eco-Resolution: Starting a Recycle Bin

I usually don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Christina’s recent post sums up a big reason why – I tend to set the same stale goals and then get deflated the next year when I realize that in an entire year, I couldn’t accomplish what I was so excited to achieve the previous year. So, this year I decided that I wanted my goals to revolve around actual tasks, most of which are little items that are easy to do, but I keep putting off for one reason or another (time restraints, failing at it the first time, getting distracted by something shiny).

Something that I have wanted to do for months is start a recycle bin. I have done a great job in the past year of taking my reusable shopping bags with me to the store, and even have mastered a cleaning routine before I put them back in the car. After seeing the benefit of how many bags I have saved, as well as the inspiration I garnered from Rachael’s recent post on setting an environmental resolution each year, I decided that it was time to stop slacking, and get my recycle on!

Setting up a recycle bin is simple, especially if your city offers curbside pick-up:

1. Buy a trash can/bin to keep your recyclables in.
2. Print out a list of recyclable items (Rachael recommended this PDF).
3. If needed, put a sticker/printout/spray-painted stencil on the top of your recycle bin of the recycle logo. (You could also get a copy of recyclable items laminated and adhere it to the top of the bin for easy reference.)


You have your new bin and it’s in the kitchen and labeled, so now what? This is where the intimidation factor came in for me. I know that there are some things that are recyclable and some that aren’t, and if you put something that shouldn’t be recycled with recyclables, it could ruin the entire batch. Talk about pressure!

I imagined that my life was going to be something like this Portlandia skit:

So, I decided to start small. For now, we are focusing on recycling cans, paper and bottles (glass or plastic). If we succeed in keeping up with our new eco-habit, we will expand our focus to more items on the recyclable list. After only a few days, we have done a great job with sorting, and I have made two trips out to our city recycle bin to empty the contents.

UPDATE: We have been using what Bryan calls “the hippie bin” for about three weeks now, and it’s going great. We quickly found ourselves recycling more than just the basics we initially committed to. Cheers to starting new habits!

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2 Responses to “Eco-Resolution: Starting a Recycle Bin”

  1. anne babich says:

    Good for you. Glass, paper and cans are easy but the plastic can be difficult. Hippie Bin is a cute name.
    When you recycle you become more aware of all the packaging that surrounds the products we buy.
    The grocery store will recycle your plastic bags.

    • thewildernessgirls says:

      Anne – I actually have a friend at work who collects them and reuses them to bundle items her church donates to families. But I do have a couple of stores around here that recycle them too. Thanks for reading! #Jenny

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