Recycling is a great idea for the planet, but you might not feel so great about the space it takes up in your home or the mess it makes.  Here are ways to give your home recycling center a makeover, so it takes up less room and looks a whole lot tidier.Alt=home recycling keep it clean and save space

Wrangling the Recycling: Solutions for Newspapers, Cans and More

Aluminum Cans.  Sure, you feel good about recycling them, but they take up so much room!  Just three days into the week and your recycling bin is overflowing.  And carrying all those bundles out to the curb on Sunday night makes you feel like a hobo Santa Claus.  

Well, forget all that.  The Easy Pull is a sturdy wall-mounted can-crusher that will drastically reduce the volume of your aluminum recycling. Cans are flattened before the crusher conveniently drops them into the attached collection bin – no need to touch the can ever again.  The Easy Pull’s collection bin holds 48 crushed cans.  Best of all, the Easy Pull is engineered to work easily for anyone – from small children to seniors. Kids get a kick out of helping out with the Easy Pull, and it makes a thoughtful gift for grandparents.  Get yours for around $39 and save space and trips to the curb. 

Paper.  Tying up the paper recycling can be an awkward affair.  Attempting to bundle newspaper and slippery catalogs while expertly binding them up in twine isn’t easy for everyone – and who has time to become an expert in that

One easy solution is to slip newspapers and catalogs into brown paper shopping bags.  When a bag is full, simply tie twine around it to prevent the paper inside from falling out.  The bag itself is recyclable, so you can drop the whole tidy bundle at the curb for pick-up.

Also, keep twine and a designated pair of twine scissors within easy reach of your paper recycling.  Consider hanging a wire bin or basket on the wall nearby, where these items can be stored.

Wall-Mounted Wheeled Bins. Another way to save space is to get your recycling bins off the floor and hang them on the wall instead.  Make them easier to transport to the curb, too, by choosing bins with wheels.  Look online for the best bin system for your household needs.

Splats and Splashes: Protect Your Walls and Floors

Walls.  Not everyone in the family is conscientious about rinsing their empty soup cans before tossing them in the recycling bin. You might get tired of scraping dried chicken dumplings off the wall behind those recycling cans.  Well, put away your chisel.  There’s a better way.

For the walls behind your recycling bins, consider putting up a waterproof shield that wipes clean easily with just a damp sponge.  You’ve got options, depending on how much or little you want to spend, how much work you’re willing to do, and what kind of aesthetic works for you.  

-- Waterproof Wainscoting. For areas you want to keep pretty, consider installing waterproof wainscoting.

-- Plexiglass.  For more utilitarian areas like mud rooms and walk-in pantries, you might opt to install a sheet of plexiglass against the wall.

-- Self-Adhesive Splatter Shields.  The cheapest, easiest solution is to hang clear, self-adhesive wall protectors.  These protectors are usually sold in packs of ten or twelve and are meant to be used as splatter shields above sinks, stoves and yes, even behind the recycling.  They wipe clean and are also disposable for easy replacement.  When you peel them up, they leave the wall undamaged.

When hanging any type of wall protector behind your recycling bins, we sure to extend the shield below the rim of the recycling can by at least a couple of inches, to catch any splatters that start to roll down the wall and behind the bin.

Floors.  And what about the floor area around the base of your recycling cans?  If that ugly brown ring reappears every recycling day when you lift those cans, you might want to shield your floor, too.

-- Door Mats.  For floor protection, invest in an easy-care rubber door mat that can be rinsed off easily in the sink. 

-- Garage Mats.  Garage mats are meant to catch drips from cars, motorcycles and the like, so they’re both absorbent and easy to clean with just water.  Look for smaller garage mats cut to fit under lawnmowers.

-- Mats-By-the-Foot.  Some rubber mats are sold by the square foot, so you can have an inexpensive custom waterproof mat cut to fit your recycling nook. 

-- Boot Trays.  Another option is to buy a plastic or rubber boot tray.  Depending on the size of your recycling catchers, a boot tray can protect the floor from drips and spills while keeping your recycling cans nestled in one place.  

When choosing a mat for your recycling center, avoid carpet-like fibers and textured rubber with deep grooves and gullies.  The idea is for the mat to be easier to clean than the floor beneath it, so don’t give dirt any place to wedge or hide.  The flatter the surface, the easier it is to rinse under the faucet. 

Recycling isn’t going away any time soon – and that’s a good thing.  So why not set yourself up with a home recycling center that will make your life easier?

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