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Recycling as a Family Project

By Alyssa Davis

Almost every family could use a little bit more money these days. Additionally, family members are often so busy with their everyday lives that they just don't seem to find the time to devote to activities they can do together. Starting a family recycling center in a corner of your basement or garage can be the perfect solution to both of these dilemmas. Many families find that they really enjoy working together to recycle items that they used to just throw away. It's a great way to save on your trash pick-up service expenses, and in some cases you can even get money for your recycled items, such as aluminum beverage cans. It's also a great way to teach young children about the need to take better care of the environment. If starting a family recycling project sounds like something your whole family would enjoy, here are some tips you can use to get started today.

Assessing Your Family Recycling Needs

You'll probably have the greatest success starting a family recycling project if you keep things simple, at least in the beginning. Start by evaluating the kinds of items you throw away most frequently in your household. In some cases it might be paper especially if you subscribe to a daily newspaper. If you frequently purchase soda in aluminum cans, this might be a good item to start recycling. By choosing to recycle trash that you generate a lot of, you'll see the efforts of your recycling more quickly.

Setting Up a Family Recycling Center

Recycling is easier when you have a designated area. In most cases, all you'll need is an unused corner of your garage or basement. It can be as simple as placing three large cardboard boxes, plastic trash cans or plastic tubs on the floor, labeled "Paper," "Glass," and "Aluminum." If your community offers plastic recycling, you could add a box labeled "Plastic." Placing a trash bag inside each recycling container will make it easier to gather and transport your recycled items. In some cases, communities even supply households with containers to collect recyclable materials, which can then just be placed on the curb.

Handy Recycling Tips

You should wash or at least rinse the cans and bottles you collect for recycling before placing them in the collection bins. By doing this, you'll reduce the chance of unpleasant odors and the possibility of attracting small animals such as mice. Flattening cans before placing them in the storage bins can help save a lot of space. If your community does offer plastic recycling, you'll need to pay attention to the number symbol on the plastic trash items your family generates. For example, many communities offer recycling programs for plastic soda bottles, which are marked with the number "1" inside a triangle, or the milk jugs, juice bottles and personal care products normally marked with the number "2". Polystyrene items such as carry-out containers and foam plates and cups are generally marked with a "6," and are also commonly collected in curbside programs and at recycling centers. However, some plastics, such as cooking oil and window cleaner bottles marked with a "3" are less frequently accepted for recycling.

Home design expert, Alyssa Davis of, is particularly skilled in designing with metal art decor and car metal wall decor.

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