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How to Make a Home Recycling Center

Updated on June 21, 2014
Recycling helps save money.
Recycling helps save money. | Source

Encourage Recycling with an Attractive Place to Sort Recyclables

Although many people don’t mind the idea of recycling, they find it bothersome to sort and separate items, and don’t like the unattractive bins cluttering their house. If that’s the problem in your home, encourage your family to recycle more by creating an attractive recycling center.

Recycling everyday-items helps conserve natural resourcs and reduces the environmental impact of families, in an article from “The News-Gazette” suggests that about 75 percent of what is thrown away in the trash each week could be recycled! Although you can purchase stackable plastic bins specifically for recycling, you can also transform a shelving kit into your own recycling center that suits your needs and matches your current decor. Choose a style that blends in with your current recycling space, or consider moving the shelving to a more accessible location that makes you more likely to recycle items and keeps you better organized.


  • Tape Measure
  • Wire shelving unit
  • Bins
  • Level


1. Measure the area where you want to install the recycling shelves. You’ll definitely need the width and the depth of the area, however the height might not be an issue unless you plan on rather extensive recycling system. Shorter shelving units will allow you to have a flat workspace on the top, and may blend into the room better than a tall shelving unit.

2. Purchase a wire shelving unit from a home center or home organizing store that allows for adjustable heights of shelving to accommodate a variety of bin heights. Consider optional accessories for your shelving unit, such as butcher-block tops, which are easier to clean than traditional wire shelving.

3. Select bins or containers that will easily fit onto a shelving unit you have purchased. You’ll need to check the depth of the bins to ensure it won’t stick out from the edge of the shelving, and that you can fit several bins on one shelf. Look for bins that allow you to label what belongs inside so that everyone in the family knows what goes into which bin. Either look for containers that you can easily label with the written name of what goes inside, or apply a pictorial tag— such as a photo or drawing of the objects — for younger members of the family who want to recycle but can’t read.

4. Assemble the shelving together according to manufacturer’s instructions. Use a level to ensure the unit won’t wobble once you place it in the desired location. Keep in mind that while the unit itself might be level, your floor not be level, so you may have to adjust the unit once you get it in place.

5. Collect your recyclables in your new organizing center throughout the week. Dump the recycles into the county-provided recycling bins and place them at the curb on the appropriate day.


Unless you regularly clean and rinse out your cans or glass recycle items before you place the recyclables into the bin, you’ll need to wash out the bins each week to keep the area odor-free and sanitary.


Oregon Live: Organize Recycling: Keep Containers Handy to Make Tossing and Sorting Easy

The Shelving Store: SI Brand Chrome Wire Shelving

Real Simple: How To Recycle Anything

The News Gazette: More than 75 Percent of My Trash Is Recyclable

Poll Question

Does your area have a recycling program?

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