Be an Eco-Friendly Family: Simple Solutions for Recycling and Composting

Did you know that, on average, every American generates nearly 4.5 pounds of trash per day? Imagine the difference your family can make by choosing to recycle and compost whenever possible!

We can all do our part to make more sustainable choices but becoming an eco-friendly family requires the cooperation of everyone in a household. At first, the prospect of getting kids on-board with a home sustainability plan may seem daunting.

Luckily, it turns out that a few small tweaks to our everyday habits can have a big impact. Over the last few months our family has successfully undertaken our own sustainability plan and we’ve got with a few simple tips to get you started.

1. Choose a Dual-Compartment Waste Bin to Sort Recycling

This one change has had a massive impact in our home. After years of using separate cans for trash and recycling in separate parts of our kitchen, we switched to a dual-compartment unit that holds both trash and recyclables in one spot.

We chose an Under Counter Dual Compartment Pull-Out Can from simplehuman.. The unit features a standard trash can plus a bright blue recycling can affixed to a steel glider track installed in one of our cabinets. In addition to providing a constant visual reminder to recycle whenever possible, keeping the unit tucked away in a cabinet has also reduced clutter in our small home.

Being able to see that bright blue can, lined with a bright blue recycling trash bag, reminds every family member to place recyclables in the proper container each and every time they throw something away. The kids, in particular, seem to benefit from that visual reminder.

2. Start Composting With a Convenient Countertop Bin

In addition to recycling, we’ve taken our efforts one step further by composting our food waste. This sleek Odor-Free Kitchen Compost Collector from Full Circle Home makes it easy to dispose of everything from fruit and vegetable scraps to leftover pasta and bites of toast. The bin is designed to trap odors and stores discreetly tucked in a corner on our countertop or under the sink when not in use. When the bin is full, custom-fit compost bags make it easy to take everything outside without mess or fuss.

For disposal, we participate in our community’s newly added city-wide compost program but previous to that we used a simple backyard unit to compost yard and kitchen waste. I recommend checking with your community to see if they offer a municipal program or consider installing a backyard unit.

3. Post Kid-Friendly Signage To Help With Sorting

Finally, to make the entire process even easier for the kids to understand, we created a simple sign to help them sort. Since our youngest is still a pre-reader, we wanted to be sure the sign was clear and concise enough for him to grasp immediately. While it may not be 100 percent comprehensive, our signage does a good job of covering most of the items the children would encounter and need to dispose of on a regular basis. We tucked the sign into a plastic sleeve and added a copy of our community recycling guidelines in the back for the grownups to reference. We keep it posted inside the cabinet door along with the recycling unit for a convenient yet discreet reference.

You can download your own copy of our free printable Kid-Friendly Waste Sorting Sign here.

After living with our sustainability plan for a few months now, we’ve seen a major decrease in the amount of trash we’re generating and its been a completely painless process for all. If you have any hesitations about adopting your own eco-family plan, I’m here to assure you, it really is easy being green!