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Simple recycling ideas for your home

This guide will explain how to use recycling bins and leave you with valuable recycling advice so that you can live more sustainably.


Reading Time: 5 minutes


By ensuring that the recycling process is simple and affordable, everyone can help the environment in some way. For many South Africans living in small homes or apartments, finding the space to store items that need to be recycled can be an issue, especially when everything needs to be in a pile of its own.

If space is one of your concerns, below is a cheat sheet that you can use to make recycling that much easier.

While most recyclable items can be washed, take care when handling packages that contained harmful substances. It’s always a good idea to clean your surfaces with products such as Domestos or Handy Andy after handling items that need to be recycled, especially when dealing with containers that contained raw meat, ensuring that your home is clean and free of harmful bacteria.

How to Effectively Sort & Separate

Organisations such as Pickitup and Mpact have specific storage bins for recycling plastic, paper and glass, which is why it helps to have separate recycling bins at home too.

In order to make recycling a habit at home, you need to think of glass bottles, jars and tin cans as items that need to be cleaned instead of thrown away. Get into the habit of throwing these items in the dishwasher or sink before you place them in the appropriate recycling bins. It’s of course always a good idea to check whether these types of items are safe for your dishwasher first. It’s also nicer to store clean items in the bins in your home to avoid bad smells and insects.

Recycling Ideas for Your Home

  • If you’re looking to create more space to store your recyclable items, start crushing the items that can be crushed such as plastic bottles or cereal boxes. Some recycling companies such as Whole Earth and Mpact will even provide you with bags that can be used to sort your recyclable items, making the process that much easier.

  • Some items such as glass jars don’t even need to be recycled since they make for handy storage containers around your home. Simply rinse them out with some soapy water and soak them in hot water overnight to remove the label. There are multiple ways that you can use glass jars at home so keep them handy.

  • If you have a garden and some space to grow your own vegetables, you can use your food waste as compost, which saves you money in more ways than one. You can easily create a compost heap in a cordoned-off area of your garden but remember to turn it regularly to avoid bad smells.

  • The recycling containers that you use should be appropriate for what you’re trying to store, which will also determine how you store your items.

  • Any food waste or items that can’t be recycled or reused can be disposed of in your municipal bins.

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The above tips are all small changes that you can make at home in order to make the process of recycling a little easier. Once it becomes a part of your day-to-day routine, it will start feeling like second nature.

Originally published