Despite efforts to stop catalogs, convert to e-bills and shop bulk, we’re constantly bombarded with paper — junk mail, school worksheets, cardboard packaging. It just comes and comes.
The city of Alexandria makes it easy to recycle paper, but in a small house without a covered porch or garage, what do you do with all the piles of paper before trash/recycling day? Oh how I can’t stand the stacks of paper.
Looking for unused space in the house, I realized we had lots of empty wall space in the stairwell going down to the basement. I purchased a wall organizer from the Container Store to hang in this accessible but not blatantly visible spot.
There is one slot for loose junk mail and school papers (sorry kids, I can’t keep all your art projects) and one slot for broken down cardboard food boxes (cereal, frozen waffles, pasta, etc.). I store dirty cloth napkins and fabric sandwich bags in the third slot — makes it easy to grab them when you are headed downstairs to do a load of laundry.
At the end of the week we put the paper out for the weekly recycling pick-up or if our recycling bin is full or we miss the pick-up, we drop off at the MOM’s Organic Market recycling center in Arlandria. I also like seeing the quantity of recycling — it makes me try harder NOT to create so much.
I typically take a weekly trip to MOM’s. If I miss recycling day, I put the paper in our reusable shopping bags and carry to MOM’s recycling center. When you enter the store through the back parking lot, you’ll find the recycling bins on the left by the check-out lines. There are bins for glass, plastic, compost and random paper. You can also recycle batteries and lightbulbs.
I also like going to MOM’s because their plastic bags for produce and the wrappers for things like dried fruit and coffee beans are compostable and I can also drop these off at their recycling center. During the week, I keep the used bags and wrappers in a decorative tin in the kitchen next to bulk food containers.
Paper is probably one of the biggest sources of trash in our house. But with a new organization system and a simple plan for recycling, we’re creating less and less waste for the landfill every day. Have you made any simple changes in your home to encourage recycling, composting or waste-free living? We’d love to know what you’ve done — always looking for new ideas.