It’s Time for Spring Cleaning. Have You Thought About Recycling?

4/30/2018 - 11:07:42 AM

Recycling is such a simple concept, and it seems like it should be simple to do. If you’ve ever tried it, I’m sure you’d have your own opinion. After looking into it, I’m not so sure. Who knew it could be so daunting? No wonder many of us don’t participate, saying, “Meh, it’s easier to put it into the trash can. I don’t think about or see the problem I’m who cares?”

Notice that the word “easier” is italicized? I believe the prioritization of convenience is one of the main reasons we make so much trash. To wit, consider packaging: “On average, a person in the United States or Western Europe uses about 220 pounds of plastic per year, according to the Worldwatch Institute, a research organization. The packaging industry, growing thanks to the rise of online stores and other factors, poses a huge challenge.” According to the Washington Post article Drowning in Garbage.

Lyn Landes suggests we take a “minimize consumption / maximize self-reliance” approach. Her thinking is that if we have less to throw away to begin with, we will be well on our way to not being part of the problem. Her website has many resources, including this chart to help you understand your consumption habits and their effects. While it’s doesn’t seem easy to start recycling in your home, there’s actually a lot of help out there.

Beginning...Half the Battle

Like any system, it takes time and effort to set up. And in the long run, you’ll actually achieve some of that convenience you’re looking for. It just won’t look like what you thought it would. But any step toward recycling is better than none. (In fact, click here for an interesting graphic history of how far we’ve come.)

Three helpful sites to put you on the path to recycling. Use them in tandem and you’ll be well on your way.

  1. Create a Home Recycling Center: This article gives an exhaustive, step by step process for setting up a recycling system. It’s all there.

  1. How to set up a recycling system: Basically an outline of the first article, it helps to break things into more “bite size” pieces. My one dispute would be with the Waste-Not-Baskets. They include plastic bags to hold your recyclables. A reusable container for each item would be better.

  1. How to Organize Your Home Recycling System I really like the suggestion to have a receptacle right by your mailbox (if possible) so that the junk mail never even gets into your home.


After looking at these systems, it’s understandable if you’re feeling a little dazed. Not to worry! One step at a time! This post, Our Home Recycling System: 6 Month Update, gives a glimpse into the difficulties and rewards of learning to recycle systematically. Her diary is a comfort and helps you get over your “fear,” essentially saying, “You can do it. I know how you feel. Here’s how it’s going for me.” Written by Shelle Wells, her blog focuses on “being prepared for today, and next week, and next year.” She shares all kinds of tips about food storage, gardening, homesteading tips+tricks, and frugal living.

A Note About Containers

One of the crucial aspects of a recycling system is your containment setup. The Container Store system is an example. Purchase their containers or use them for ideas. If I were you, I wouldn’t rush to buy containers. Be patient and try different things, but stick with it. All transitions take time. And realize that your particular area and the availability of different recycling services will determine the nature and extent of your system, so again, be patient. But stick to it! It’s worth it!

Sharing the Earth

Recycling is just one more way to practice stewardship of this big beautiful blue ball we call home. Here at Kauffman’s, we’re all about stewardship of the earth’s resources. We know they’re not ours alone. They belong to everyone. We believe it’s all God’s provision. We want to honor our fellow humans and God by making the best use of all we’ve been given. Recycling, give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.

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