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Take the Time to Recycle

As Earth Day is tomorrow, it’s a great time to think of ways in which we can recycle, helping keep our Earth clean. I’ve come a long way toward recycling in my own home. I’ve always recycled pop cans or milk jugs, but until recently, I didn’t realize how many things can be recycled.


Here’s a few tips I’ve learned that help me Take the Time to Recycle:

  • Rinse it out. By washing out your cans and containers, items like yogurt, soup, baby food, applesauce, and even Lean Cuisine containers (I love these and only 300 calories for lunch!) it gets them ready to be recycled. I tend to get lazy and not want to recycle simply because I don’t take the time to wash out the food from the cans or containers. But by easily rinsing them out, taking only a few seconds, these little items add up in the recycle bin.
  • RecycleMaking something new. There’s many ways to recreate something from items you’ve already had. Either using your recyclable items in these fun Kid’s Crafts or see Ecologue’s great Home Projects. Get creative with items that need recycling.
  • Look for the sign. On plastic items, there’s usually a recycle logo with a number in the middle. Most recycle bins will take plastics with the numbers 1-7. But check your with your city as to what they will allow.
  • Recycling PlasticPaper Junk mail. It’s pretty crazy how much junk mail I get each day, almost all of it going into the recycle bin, grocery ads, envelopes from your bills, coupon mailers. I’ll even admit that I recycle my kid’s school work that’s not needed anymore, am I horrible for not saving it all?
  • Get organized. This Recycling 101 article from Petit Elefant has a great idea for staying organized while you recycle. Or I have a few neighbors who have these type of trash cans below, making it even easier to recycle, one for trash and one for recycling. Take the time to find what works for you and your family.

Recycle Bin

I’m amazed at how full my recycle bin gets in just two weeks and how my daily garbage has decreased. It really feels good to recycle, helping do my part, even if it’s just a little. And for ways to go beyond recycling, check out Simple Mom’s article on how to Go Green, Besides Just Recycling.

What tips and tricks do you have for Taking the Time to Recycle?


  1. Great article! People simply not understanding what can and cannot be recycled seems to be a big issue recently, the public needs to to better educated on the topic. As for junk mail we actually found a great service online recently that can help with that, lets you opt out of junk mail being sent your house!

  2. I was so happy to find out that we can put paper in our green yard waste dumpster for city pick up – makes it so much easier for me to recycle cardboard boxes which it seems like I use to throw away so many!!

  3. These are great tips – good reminders and surprising recycling tips that a lot of people don’t know. It’s so important that recycled containers don’t have any food left in them – it contaminates the “batch” and in some areas they’ll just throw that batch out because there’s not the resources to sort and clean.

    Most areas also have recycling centers that will take large items that your garbage/recycle service won’t. Things like electronics, metal, furniture, etc.

    Since we haven’t tackled a compost bin yet, we put what we can in our yard debris can. As long as it’s what we would typically put in the compost (carrot tops, broccoli stems, eggshells, etc.) then they’ll take it. Not all cities do this so check with yours.

    We love toilet paper tube art in our house too! Just last night, my daughter spent the time she normally would have watched TV (since it’s Turn Off week) making beautiful pictures on an empty tube. Here’s a few more ideas for those tubes that we all end up with:

    Thanks for sharing these tips and ideas!

  4. We recycle weekly here and we fill a big rubbermaid (it has a lid) every week! Lots to recycle. We also started to compost and that cut down our trash a lot. You would be amazed at how much you can reduce by doing small things.

  5. I’ve been called the recycling Nazi before, and I don’t mind it at all. However, I think we need to remember that even more important than recycling is first REDUCING the amount of waste we produce, and second RE-USING things. I always feel rather guilty when I bring perfectly good cardboard boxes for recycling; they’d make great moving boxes and it’s much better use of energy to reuse something than to shred it down just to make another perfectly good box!

  6. I also get lazy about rinsing out cans and things that I could recycle. I really should be better about that. I really like that double garbage can, that would look much nicer than our recycle box by the overflowing garbage can lol.

  7. Also #6 plastic (usually clear plastic takeout food lids or containers) is shrinky dink! I trim it down and let the kids make tags which are then strung on a small nicklechain on lunchboxes or backpacks etc.

    The cool thing is that it shrinks thicker and sturdier than the thin sheets you buy at the craftstore. We have made xmas ornaments, too.

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