Most homes are not designed for recycling. There's ample space for a trash can underneath the sink, but these days, we want to separate recyclables and compost. But where do you put everything before it ends up in the trash chute, garbage bin, or compost pile? The demand for space is real: our kitchen recycling area takes up just as much space as the trash can; if you have to sort your recyclables, the amount of space you need can easily double or triple. How can you deal with this? • Don't make it too big. The bin pictured above, which we bought at IKEA, is just big enough to hold a day or two's worth of recycling for our 5-person household. At this size, about 15" on a side, it doesn't get too heavy for anyone to lift. The $30 price was a bit steep, but it does the job well.
• Position is important. We keep our kitchen recycling bin by the back door, where the placement serves a reminder to use the bin and empty it.
• Create overflow areas. This larger wicker chest sits on the front porch. We use it to hold dog waste bags and waste paper, and Planet Organics leaves our weekly food delivery here, so concealed from passerby. Its placement outside the front door stops quite a bit of junk paper before it even makes it in the house. What works in your home? We're working on a top ten list of recycling containers and we'd like to know if you've found a unique, inexpensive, or original solution. Let us know! Leave a comment below or drop us a line. More resources: • Municipal food scrap bins in Berkeley, California • The NatureMill compost appliance, for those without a yard—but with money and interior space. • The Ecopod, a modernist machine for recycling.