I have a confession to make, and it’s a real one that I’m actually a little ashamed to admit. As much as I really do care about the environment and sustainability, we haven’t been that great about recycling at our house the last couple years. (There, I said it! Glad that’s off my chest.) Two kids running around, plus my team working at my house most of the time equals a lot of waste, and often the quickest and easiest route (i.e., just throwing something in the trash) wins out in the busy-ness of the day-to-day. But I’ve decided that now’s the time to get serious, especially now that Phoebe’s old enough to develop good recycling habits, and I’m ready to start practicing what I preach in the recycling department! For today’s post, in partnership with Seventh Generation as part of our Living Green series, I wanted to share my new home recycling station with you guys so that (a) I’m held accountable to actually do it, and (b) any of you other recycling slackers will be inspired to institute a system at your home — one that every member of your household can stick to!

*images by Kristen Kilpatrick

Tip #1: Make it easy

Let’s be real: the only way that everyone in our house is going to recycle on the regular is if we make it really easy on them. I knew we needed a designated area for our recyclables that’s right off the kitchen so that we only have to walk a few steps further than the trash can. It’s also right next to the garage so that when these get full, I can easily empty them into the larger recycling bin outside.

Tip #2: Find the perfect receptacles

Head to Target or the Container Store and look at all your options — there are a lot out there! Cute baskets, metal trash cans, mesh boxes… there’s a vessel for every budget and decor style. Make sure to measure the space while you’re at home to make sure they’ll fit!

Tip #3: Label your bins

We made it easy on you with these adorable downloadable templates. Just click through to the final slide, print them out and use double sided tape to stick them on!

Tip #4: Stick to your schedule

Make a plan for how often you’re going to take out the recycling, and if you live in a city without curbside pickup, what day you’ll take your recyclables to the local center. A weekly schedule is a good idea so that the load doesn’t get too heavy — and you’re not tempted to skip it altogether!

Tip #5: Keep it clean

I know it sound silly, but one thing that kept me from recycling in the past is that my bins tended to get kind of gross, with bottles and cans that leaked or left a residue in the bin. This time I’m curtailing that by including a weekly wipe-down in my schedule — using Seventh Generation’s Disinfecting Wipes that remove dirt and grim without any harsh chemicals.

For lots more tips on living clean and green, check out the other posts in our series in partnership with Seventh Generation:

12 Ways to Make Greener Shopping Choices

The Cutest Kids Chore Chart

Why You Should Be Composting

Your Weekly Checklist for a Clean Green Home

How to Clean the House in 15 Minutes

Are You Doing Your Laundry Right?

And don’t forget to download and print our recycling labels right here!

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