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How to Set Up an At-Home Recycle Center

Mar 10, 2008
With curbside recycling programs available to more than half of all Americans, there's no reason you can't easily set up your own at-home recycling center. Still, the EPA estimates that while 75 percent of what Americans trash every week could be recycled, only 25 percent is. There is still more to be done. Most recycling programs accept certain types of plastics, paper, and glass. Set up and maintenance of your at-home recycling center can be a fast, simple undertaking.

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You'll Need
A designated spot for your recycling center
Sturdy plastic containers
Compost Bin
Trash Cans
Trash Bags
Labels and Marker
Utility Knife

Step One
Find an area in your home, garage or apartment where your recycling center will be located. Your space does not need to be large. A corner of the kitchen, a storage closet, or spot in the garage will work nicely.

Step Two
It's important to use sturdy containers to store your recycled materials. Designate each container for one type of recyclable. For example, you might label your bins (using your labels and marker): plastic, newspaper, cardboard, and aluminum.

Step Three
To recycle tin and/or bi-metal cans, wash them out and remove the labels. Flatten the cans to conserve space.

Step Four
To recycle aluminum, check first to make certain the cans are aluminum. Use a magnet if in doubt, as aluminum will not be attracted to the magnet. Rinse the can and flatten to save storage space. Keep aluminum cans separate from other aluminum products.

Step Five
When possible, purchase returnable or reusable bottles. To prepare glass for recycling wash the glass and remove and properly discard all metal caps and rings. Keep the glass separated by color, if necessary. Glass that should not be recycled includes: Pyrex, light bulbs, glass tableware, mirrors, windows, and broken glass.

Step Six
Recycle all white office paper, mixed-color paper and newspaper. Depending on your community's recycling program, these may need to be separated by type and/or color. High-grade paper would include computer paper, tab cards, ledger paper and copier paper.

Step Seven
To recycle newsprint, keep papers stacked in a fire-safe area. Tie papers in stacks or bundle in brown grocery bags, if required by your local recycling program. Most recycle programs do no accept magazines, shipping envelopes, or envelopes with windows.

Step Eight
To recycle corrugated cardboard, which is made up of two layers of heavy cardboard with a ribbed section in between, use a utility knife box cutter to safely cut the box and flatten for easy storage and transport.

Step Nine
According to Earth 911, managing your organic material at your home not only decreases the amount of material that you send to the landfill, it can also help turn your organic waste into a landscape asset. Composting bins allow homeowners to recycle their biodegradable food scraps and yard waste. Bins are designed with air vents which accelerate the composting process. Compost bins can be placed outside in your backyard or near the garden. Compost improves the soil, thus creating a better environment for your plants.

Tips & Warnings
Keep the containers clean before recycling. Leaky soda cans or food containers could pose ant or mice problems. If you choose to take your recyclables to a buyback center, it's a good idea to keep recyclables separated for easy drop off. Be informed on how to safely dispose of unwanted medications, grooming products, and hazardous household waste.
About the Author
Safecutters Inc., provides an online store of utility knife box cutters for opening shipping boxes and shipping packages, as well as safety knives to open moving boxes and packages. For more information about Klever Kutter and other Safecutters products contact us!
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