Recycling Stations Around The Home

By Professional Organiser Stefanie of Octarine Projects Pty Ltd

Glass, plastics, paper, aluminium trays and cans, steel cans, batteries, light globes, CDs, DVDs, smoke alarms, mobile phones, medicines, soft plastics, electronic waste, polystyrene, paint, ink cartridges, chemicals, food waste… did you know you can most likely recycle all of them in your local council area?

But where to store them at home…

The good news is your home does not have to look like a tip! There are plenty of practical and stylish options to organise your recyclables around the home, that will not break your budget.  To store your recyclables successfully, you need to consider space, looks, convenience and of course, what to recycle.

Where to place the recycling station?

In my experience there are three main areas to place recycling stations.

The kitchen

…or butlers’ kitchen if you have one – most household waste is generated here, so placing bins here means you do not need to walk far.

You can hide the bins under the sink in a cupboard or make them a feature if you have the space to place them for example next to the benchtop.  These spots are particularly effective to collect garbage, recycling and food waste for your kerbside collections.  I also have a small bin as interim collection point to collect batteries and other small recyclables, before sorting them into different bins at the main recycling station.

Brabantia Bo Bins

The garage

Many people store their kerbside bins in the garage, so why not designate the empty space above or next to the bins to a recycling station.  You can add shelving and open or lidded bins to sort and store your recycling until it is time for a trip to the CRC, container drop off or pharmacy visit.  By storing the items close to your car, you are also more likely to remember them.  If you decide on a modular storage system like the elfa system for example, you could add small boxes for batteries and medicine to a peg board and have larger removable boxes / tubs for other items.  The modular nature makes it very easy to adapt the recycling station if additional items can be recycled.

The utility room or mud room

If you happen to have a utility or mud room, you can use this to store your recyclables as an alternative to storing them in your garage.  Suitable shelving systems come in all forms and sizes and can be tailored to suit your particular spaces.

What to recycle and how?

Firstly, find out from your local Council what you can recycle.

Kerbside Recycling

Most likely you will have a fortnightly recycling collection for paper, glass bottles and jars, hard plastic packaging, aluminium cans/trays and steel aerosols. For most households, this is the main part of their waste.

Most of these items are large and bulky, and you should look for a large storage container that can be emptied and cleaned easily.  Solutions range from a cardboard box that you then throw into the bin as well, to large pedal bins or twin bins that combine garbage and recycling.

 

Top tip- Take a look at how much of these recyclables you collect in a day, then decide on the right size bin for you.  You can also flatten boxes, cans and bottles to save space.

Container Deposit Scheme (SA, NSW, NT)

You may also be able to get a 10-cent refund for recycling your bottles and cans as part of a Container Deposit Scheme (CDS).  In this case you need separate storage for these recyclables, again, ideally in large and easy to clean containers.

Top tip Plastic tubs are perfect for CDS recycling, as are easy to clean and quick to pick up and put in the boot!

Community Recycling Centres

You may be lucky, and your Council manages a Community Recycling Centre (CRC).  These facilities are commonly co-located with the local landfill, and many have satellite collection stations at local libraries and other community facilities.  Typically, you can recycle items like batteries, light globes and fluoro tubes, CDs, DVDs, smoke alarms and mobile phones at the libraries and all these plus paint, electronic waste and polystyrene at the larger facility near the landfill.

Most likely you will not have many of these items daily, so I advise my clients to use a smaller, lidded container for storage until the next library or landfill visit.  Large electronic items and polystyrene are best dropped off straight at the recycling centre without storing them to keep your house and garage clutter free.

Top tip: You may want to collect batteries and ink cartridges separately if you have a shop in the neighbourhood that accepts them.  Some workplaces also have battery and ink cartridge recycling boxes for their staff.

Most Councils offer Drop-off days where you can take unwanted household chemicals.  While you wait for the next drop-off day, your best option is to store them in a well-ventilated space in a plastic container.

All pharmacies will take back out of date and unwanted medicines, and you can easily store them in a small container or lidded bin until your next visit to a pharmacy.

Soft plastics like bags, wraps, chip packets, mailing sleeves can often be recycled at your local supermarket. You are best of collecting them in a plastic bag and taking them with you on the next shopping trip.

Food waste

If your Council provides you with a kerbside collection for food and garden waste, you may have a small kitchen bin for food scraps and compostable bags.  There are many alternative kitchen compost bins around, if you prefer a design different to the one provided by your council.

If you do not have a kerbside food waste collection, you can still recycle your food waste by having a compost bin or worm farm in the garden, or a bokashi bin in the kitchen.  Most of them come with detailed instructions on best practice.

Octarine Projects Pty Ltd is a Lake Macquarie based consulting and professional organising business, established in 2018 to assist clients to achieve their business and private goals in a timely and structured manner.

Stefanie worked in waste management for seven years prior to starting up her professional organising business and recycling and waste minimisation remains one of her passions, along with planning, organising, de-cluttering and working towards a minimalistic life style.

Whether you need help de-cluttering your spare room, structure your day or organise your home business, Stefanie will be happy to have a chat and see where she can assist on your journey. With a little bit of help you can make a start to re-discover your house … and sometimes yourself.

Stefanie is a member of The IOPO International (Institute of Professional Organisers) (www.iopo.com.au).