Recycling in a Small Space – And Without Easy Access

Oh, how easy it is to let life get past you. Excuse, excuse, excuse; reason, reason, reason. I won’t go into detail because it isn’t really important. I’ve made time for what matters right now (my husband, my children, my home – in that order) and now I’m adding to my priority list.

Before having our second little girl, I had really dived into a cleaner lifestyle – recycling; clean eating (which, to me, means homemade meals and healthy foods); zero waste as I’m able; using natural remedies. But after having Little Bear (seriously, coming up with a fitting nickname for an infant is hard), everything but self-care and child care got completely ignored. I just couldn’t handle anything else. Looking back now, I know I did what I could and that’s ok. But, now that I’m past that time, at least a little, I am doing my best to start doing all of those things again.

My newest project is recycling. In our new apartment, we don’t have easy access like we did in our previous place. There is no on-site recycling, so I can’t just dump it all together into the giant bin in the parking lot. I have to take it to the recycle center down the street and separate everything out.

Now, doing this with two small children, one of which still can’t walk, complicates things. I hate making multiple trips to the car when I need to go anywhere. We live on the second floor so if I can avoid repeatedly going up and down the stairs just to get out of the house, I will. So the idea of loading up multiple trips worth of recycling as well as the girls to go to the recycle center is wildly unappealing. But I think I’ve finally come up with a system that might actually work for our family. It requires an extra step at home, but I’m hoping that means that a trip to the recycle center might be a little more manageable.

First, I’ve got a small trash can in our kitchen, right next to our regular trash can, that all the recycling goes into each day. And as it fills, it is taken out to our balcony to separate everything out by type – plastic, paper, aluminum, and paper board (cereal boxes, pasta boxes, etc.). I’ve got a line of old boxes on our balcony to make this a little more simple. I’ve only just implemented this, but I’m hoping that since I’m separating them out by type I won’t have to make such frequent trips to the recycle center, which is easier with two small children. And the plan is to take only one box at a time, as it fills, which will make fewer trips up and down the stairs when I want to go to the recycle center.

There’s only room for so many things that can fit on your priority list at a time. And I know, from the last 10 months or so, that adding too many new things at once is just too much. So here I am, adding recycling back to my priority list. It can be done. I know it can. So now I’m doing it. And you can, too.

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