Set up a recycling center

Set up a recycling center in your home

Choosing among green home plans isn't just a design decision – it's a lifestyle choice. Homeowners who want to live in a green, energy efficient home may also want to consider how recycling fits into their overall designs. While some people balk at the hassle that comes with recycling, it can easily be incorporated into a home's daily chores with some simple planning. Here's how:

Start with the kitchen
Most of your waste, whether it's food, wrappers, cans or grocery bags, will likely find its way into your kitchen. As such, the kitchen is the best place to begin your recycling plan. You may want to promote and simplify recycling in your household by working recycling into your kitchen work triangle.

The kitchen triangle refers to the imaginary lines drawn between some of the kitchen's most important utilities and appliances, namely, the refrigerator, the sink and the stove top. Good kitchen triangles maximize the efficiency of kitchen work by providing easy access to these appliances without getting too cluttered. The trash can isn't technically part of the triangle, but its placement can make a huge difference in keeping a kitchen clean and organized. To better incorporate recycling, homeowners can make recycling bins another, unofficial point in their kitchen geometry.

Drawers in the kitchen can be converted into mini-recycling centers. Homeowners can put the necessary bins in pull-out drawers next to the sink, so that as food wrappers and cans are opened, they can immediately be rinsed and recycled. The bins can also be color coordinated to make sorting easy and intuitive for everyone in the family. It's also important to make sure that the bins are not more difficult to access than the trash can, so that family members don't fall in the habit of throwing recycling in the trash because it's easier. Floor plan HHF-1895 already outlines an efficient kitchen triangle, and a recycling center could easily be incorporated underneath the sink or by the stove top.

Establish a garage space
Once your kitchen recycling bins are set up, you'll want to have an organized space to sort that recycling throughout the week. The garage is the obvious choice for most families, as there is usually enough storage space there and the recycling won't be exposed to the elements. 

Make your recycling center easy to access and simple to understand. Have separate, clearly marked bins for each kind of recycling. To make sorting a cinch, coordinate the colors of the kitchen and garage bins – recycling will only be a matter of matching yellow with yellow or red with red. Also, make sure there is a clear walking path to the recycling center. Don't put it in a place that's easily blocked by cars, gardening supplies or other garage clutter. For the HHF-1895 floor plan, the best place to put the recycling would probably be the right-side wall immediately adjacent to the utility room's door. If floor space is limited, you can even mount bins on the wall. You'll also want an easy path from the recycling center to the outside, so that putting recycling curbside isn't a struggle.