If you’ve rented or owned a home before and you’re used to traditional recycling methods, you may be in for a surprise when you move into an apartment home. Most complexes that I’ve lived in didn’t offer to recycle, which is shocking to me as we approach 2019.
I always asked them why—the general response is that their residents don’t care, or that recycling bins were a wasted expense. I was able to convince one community to start a recycling program, but I was frequently met with resistance. Thankfully there are still ways to recycle even if your apartment isn’t going green.
Locate a Recycling Drop-Off Spot
Instead of just driving around aimlessly, speak with your apartment complex to see if they know of any nearby drop-off centers. You can also search your local waste management website, as they show nearby drop-off spots.
Talk to Your Neighbors
If you weren’t able to convince your new apartment community to take up a recycling program, maybe you can get the neighbors involved. As an individual, they may not listen to your request, but as a group, you have more clout and may be able to start a program.
If your apartment already has a program, you can lead the recycling front by example and even hand out bags or other recycling supplies to your neighbors. Don’t be pushy, but try to get as many people to help out the cause as possible.
If you’re new to recycling, you may want to stick with the basics. Plastics, cardboard, aluminum cans, newspapers, and clear glass are almost universally accepted. Certain drop-off centers will only accept certain items, so make sure to plan your route if you need to make more than one stop. If you’re feeling especially helpful, you can pick up recycling from other residents who may have difficulty dropping off their recycling, like disabled or elderly residents.
Set up a System
Once you’ve figured out what you can take to the recycling center, where it’s at, and how you’ll get it there, you can figure out how you want to organize the system in your home. If you have a shared apartment, you can set up a couple of bins in shared areas like the kitchen and lounge. Having multiple bins in one area can also help you separate paper, cans, bottles, and other materials.
Fine Tune your Recycling
Once you’ve gotten past the hard part, you can start getting advanced. You can upcycle old furniture through refurbishing. In many states, you can save your glass bottles or aluminum cans and turn them in for money. Finally, you should think about how you consume and try to minimize your carbon footprint when possible; for example, bring a reusable water bottle with you instead of using plastic water bottles.