18 Recycling Storage Ideas That Make Going Green Easier Than Ever

Pegboard recycling center
Photo: Adam Albright

Recycling paper, plastic, glass, and other items is an essential part of making your home greener. Implement our simple tips to quickly sort, store, and transport all of these materials. These recycling storage ideas make it easy to work this eco-friendly task into your daily routine.

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Kitchen Recycling Storage

trash and recycle bins
Emily Followill

Stash your recyclables in the kitchen until you're ready to deposit them in the bin or transport them to your local recycling center. This pullout cabinet houses the trash can as well as containers for recyclable cans and compost. A small shelf above holds paper bags.

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Recyclable Sorting Ideas

pull-out under-counter divided trash recycling station
Joan VanderSchuit

Fit all of your recyclables in one cabinet with cleverly shaped containers. Instead of a single rectangular bin, this pullout is outfitted with three triangular ones that fit into the same amount of space. Storage for recyclable paper, plastic, and cans is all easily within reach.

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All-in-One Recycling Center

Pegboard recycling center
Adam Albright

If you have space in a garage, utility room, or mudroom, set up one station to sort and gather all items that can be recycled, reused, or returned. Combine stackable containers and label each container with the intended item so everyone in your family can sort as they go. Cover the walls with pegboard to make hanging and repositioning bags and wall-mount collectors easy.

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Deposit Items Storage

Close-up of bottle and cans pegboard area
Adam Albright

Taking cans and bottles to your return center is less of a hassle when you dedicate a bag or other container to the job. Hang the bag from a pair of hooks and add a label so everyone knows what items can be returned for a deposit. Using two hooks ensures stability and helps hold it open as you toss items inside.

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Recycling Hazardous Materials

Hazardous Materials Container
Adam Albright

Find out how to properly dispose of paint, batteries, light bulbs, electronics, strong chemicals, and aerosol containers in your area. Consult your local waste management service's website for details. Collect these special items in one container until you have enough to make a special trip.

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Matching Recycling Containers

3 Monogrammed trash receptacles
Adam Albright

Choose a set of matching bins to sort recyclables in style. Any basic trash receptacle or office container will work; these lidded step-on cans make it even more convenient. Purchase multiple and add labels so you can easily separate metal, paper, plastic, and other items.

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Stackable Recycling Bins

recycle deposit containers cans
Adam Albright

If you're responsible for transporting your recyclables to a center, rely on stackable plastic bins. Label each with stickers or a permanent marker and fill with items until recycling day. Be sure to choose containers with adequate lips to prevent contents from spilling out, as well as ones that are small enough to comfortably lift when full.

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Hidden Recycling Containers

Old wicker laundry basket
Keller Photography

Conceal your recycling containers with a stylish storage vessel. Hunt down an old wicker laundry basket and place a few small garbage cans inside. This large lidded vessel conceals containers for plastics, glass, and paper.

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Cabinet Recycling Center

wood Cabinet Recycling Center
Marty Baldwin

Many lines of semicustom cabinets are now available with options and upgrades that make recycling easier. Look for pullout base cabinets that hold a few plastic garbage cans. Designate one bin for trash and the others for recyclables.

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Drawer Recycling Storage

Kitchen recycling bins drawers
Kim Cornelison

Supplement a trash-bin pullout in your kitchen by gathering newspapers, cardboard, and other flat paper items in a low, unused drawer. Before you begin stacking items, place string or twine for binding in the bottom of the drawer. That way, you can quickly tie up and carry away the papers.

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Rotating Recycling Bins

Rotating Recycling Bins
Greg Scheidemann

Corner cabinets offer lots of space, but they're often difficult to access and smaller items can get lost in the recesses of the cabinet. Make the most of this space by installing a lazy Susan on the bottom of the cabinet and placing recycling bins on top of it. Simply open the door and spin the bins until you reach the correct container. Lift out bins when you're ready to dispose or recycle items.

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Recycling Organization Bags

Close-up of plastic-coated shopping bags
Scott Little

Use matching reusable shopping bags with flat bottoms and sturdy handles to sort, store, and transport recycling items. Ensure the material is plastic-coated so they're easy to wipe clean when needed. Line up the bags on a deep shelf in your garage or utility room.

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Rolling Recycling Bins

Rolling Recycling Bins wire
Marty Baldwin

An inexpensive wire rolling cart (originally designed to corral office supplies and file folders) scoots into the space under a workbench, desk, or staircase. Drop items directly into the cart or line the compartment with a flat-bottom bag. Simply tuck it away when not in use.

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Labeled Recycling Basket

Matching baskets under shelves
Greg Scheidemann

Use matching baskets to sort recyclables in the low open area underneath a bench or built-in. Protect the baskets with oilcloth liners or treat fabric liners with several coats of spray paint or polyurethane. This will help protect the natural fibers from spills and stains.

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Reusable Bag Storage

Storage smart garages
Adam Albright

If your home is overflowing with bags, set up a three-part storage system by the door to your mudroom or garage. Stuff used plastic bags in a wall holder ($30, Bed Bath & Beyond). Dangle reusable fabric shopping totes from hooks. Finally, fill a wire wall basket with folded paper sacks.

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On-the-Go Recycling

On-the-Go Recycling
Cameron Sadeghpour

Convert a plastic cereal dispenser ($26, Target) into a trash receptacle for your car. Line it with a trash bag and fill with garbage and recyclables while you're on the road. You can sort or dispose of materials when you return home.

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DIY Composting Bin

compost bucket
William N. Hopkins

Purchase a countertop compost bin ($30, Target) or make your own from a small, lidded trash bin. After each meal, transport refuse to a large outdoor container, where the natural material can decompose. With a little practice and planning, you can make free, nutrient-rich material to spread on your plants and throughout your garden.

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Rolling Recyclables

wheels Rolling Recyclables
Greg Scheidemann

Make any container easier to maneuver to the car or curb by outfitting it with rollers or casters. Choose casters with ball bearings, which might cost more but roll more smoothly. Always install at least four casters to any container, and consider including two locking casters if you're worried your container might roll away.

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