Going Green,Thrifty Style: Recycling

Since we’ve relocated in recent months, we’ve had a lot of “new” things to uncover – a new mechanic, new grocery store, new hair stylist... and the list goes on. Among these “new” needs was a way to efficiently and economically recycle. In our previous neighborhood, recycling was picked up on the same day as your trash. You just put all your recyclable items in the nice, yellow can that was provided (free of charge I might add) and that’s it. No sorting, driving or paying required.

recycleNeedless to say, I was dumbstruck when I found out that recycling was not picked up this way at our new place. Sure, you could get curbside recycling service – but for a monthly premium. So I started researching our options and was able to boil it down to the following:

  1. Pay for a curbside service to pick up our recycling either 2 times each month or once every week.
  2. Just opt out of recycling.
  3. Sort our recyclable items ourselves and then drive it to the recycling bin.

So my husband and I mulled it over and weighed the pros and cons. We really wanted to keep recycling because of the many benefits it provides the environment and future generations (more on recycling benefits here) so option two was out. To begin with, option one sounded the best – the prices were reasonable and it just seemed much easier to throw all our stuff together and then set it outside for pick-up (which is what we’d been use to doing). We probably would have went with this option if both of us had been working and had tighter time constraints. However, in the end, we decided to sort our recyclable items ourselves and take them to the recycling center each week (option three). We went with this option for mainly two reasons: 1) being at home during the day with our son allows me more flexibility to make trips to the recycling center each week and 2) this is one less monthly payment we will be making, which is important for us as we’re learning how to live on one income.

We’ve been doing this for several weeks now and it’s worked out really well so far. I’ve become a pro at sorting our stuff, and then the recycling center is conveniently close by. Our only hang-up at this point is how to manage our recycling indoors. We typically have 2-3 trash bags of recycling each week, so it gets kind of cluttered by drop-off day. We’re thinking we can nick this problem by purchasing a couple of sturdy trash cans to place outside that will be dedicated to recyclable items. Then, on recycling day, I’ll go and sort everything and haul it off.

So is this a long-term solution? We aren’t sure, but it is the ideal short-term solution for us right now.

Have any helpful recycling tips? Feel free to share!