The Zero Waste Trash Challenge: The 5 Step Program for Better Recycling

There’s recycling, and then there’s hyper-localized zero waste recycling.

How are you getting on with your zero waste challenge? I hope it’s been fun. (Yes, rubbish can be fun.)

To recap: So far you’ve done a bin audit and found, like our editor, an abundance of items you could have reused, recycled or composted instead of trashing. You put together your top five list, as in materials that make up the majority of your weekly garbage. Perhaps you went an extra step and did a “before” weigh in.

After rummaging through your rubbish, you were encouraged to ditch the disposable plastic carrier bag forever. Many people carry their own shopping bags, but we also leave them at home, in the car, or don’t take enough with us so we reach out for convenience – just one more bag won’t make a difference right? Wrong, capital W. Disposable plastic carrier bags are the ultimate waste in resources; made from oil which takes hundreds of years to create, used for 5 minutes then tossed in landfill where it takes hundreds of years to decompose. If you don’t have enough reusable bags and boxes, catch up now and add to your collection so you can be plastic bag free.

This month you’re going to empower yourself with local informationreally local, starting with your own curbside. Recycle outside of your home in five easy steps.

Step 1: If you’re in the UK, like I am, type your postcode into Recycle Now to discover the materials your local council will collect. In the U.S., check out 1-800-Recycling or Earth 911.

Step 2: Take advantage of local collection points outside of supermarkets, schools, pubs or the kind of local authority household recycling centers we call “Bring Banks” in England, hence the spelling.

Step 3: Spend a moment thinking about the journeys you make in a typical week: use the database to see what you can recycle near your workplace, near friends you frequently visit or on other weekly errands.

Step 4: Find out where your nearest civic amenity site is and check out the range of materials recycling available to you.

Step 5: Write down the materials you can recycle and where you can recycle them.

That’s all you need to do this month. Easy. Let me know what you found out. Are there more or less recycling facilities than you expected?

For more of Rachelle Strauss’ series on Zero Waste Living, check out:

The Zero Waste Trash Challenge: Just Say No (to Plastic Bags)
The Zero Waste Challenge: First Stop, a Bin Audit
16 Ways to Trim Your Trash

Image: Pylon757; epSos. de