Garage and Sheds: How to create your own recycling centre

Recycling really makes a difference. It helps preserve natural resources, creates jobs, reduces the amount of waste landfilled or incinerated and reduces pollution.

According to DEFRA’s UK statistics on waste report, we’re nearly reaching our EU recycling target in the UK of 50%, but there’s still more work to do.

While the long term goal is to predominantly reduce and reuse (the 3 Rs are in that order for a reason!), recycling is a valuable piece of the puzzle and one of the easiest places to start on a Zero Waste journey.

Where to store recycling at home

The biggest challenge is often with storage! Where do you put all your items while you are waiting for your kerbside recycling collection or building up a carboot load to take to your local Household Recycling Centre?

The team at Lidget Compton understand and support the importance of recycling and have been sharing advice with me around little changes that can be made to our garages or sheds for a more efficient recycling process within a household.

As they point out, creating an area away from the house to keep your recycling can help keep valuable space in your kitchen uncluttered. This means that whether your kitchen is big, small or somewhere in between, everyone can help save the environment without feeling you live in a recycling centre!

Benefits of setting up a recycling area

Plus the removal of any food waste smells to outside means recycling doesn’t become an unpleasant job that makes you want to throw in the towel and give up for good. Food waste can be recycled into compost for your garden, providing a nutrient-rich bedding for your plants to thrive. If you can’t compost at home, then many local authorities offer food waste collections.

Whilst organising waste sounds like a mammoth task, once you have a recycling area set up, it becomes much more straightforward. It was creating our own self contained area at Zero Waste Towers that really made the difference. At first we just dumped everything in one space and the task of sorting it out a couple of weeks later when piles of stuff was everywhere became daunting and overwhelming. But once we’d set up a few specific containers, it all became much more streamlined. It really set us up for success.

Make it work for YOUR lifestyle

The sort of recycling area you set up will depend on your local kerbside collections, as well as the space you have available. Perhaps your garage is used for nothing more than storing a few tools. In which case you can really go to town. But maybe you have just a small area at the back to work with in which case creating a Recycling Centre in your garage or shed really isn’t as hard as you might think. I’d suggest going for three main bins. It’s easier if you choose three different colours, say green or grey, blue and brown. Then divide them up like this (or whatever suits your local collections)

Recycling at Zero Waste Towers

Essentially, anyone and everyone can recycle, so we can all feel good about doing our bit. But we need to make it easy for ourselves, as we all love convenience! The garage is a great option when recycling as it is normally the largest unoccupied area and easily accessed. But if you don’t have one available, get creative! I’ve worked with families who have had a few carrier bags on the back of a kitchen door or used stacking containers in a porch outside the front door. I admit I’m very lucky where I live. We have space in an outhouse to store everything separately, but we’ve still kept it economical on space. Here’s what ours looks like:


recycling centre at home

One of the most significant things you can do is to compact your recycling as much as possible – so flatten cardboard boxes, ‘wash ‘n’ squash’ cartons, leave paper in flat sheets rather than scrunch into balls – it all makes a difference to the amount of materials you can store and helps reduce emissions from the pick up vehicles.

What about you – where do you store your recyclables?

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Rachelle Strauss

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