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How to Install a Recycling Unit into a Kitchen Cabinet

Install recycling bins in your kitchen cabinet to make being green more convenient.

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Recycle bin

What Can Be Recycled?

The precise way in which you recycle will depend on your local services — some materials may be collected from your home while others must be taken to a recycling center — but a good system of sorting and temporarily storing your recycling is needed.

Most packaging carries a symbol that states whether it can be recycled — the universal recycling symbol means that it can be. There are, however, a number of other signs — some are country-specific and some give details of the way in which an item may be recycled. Confusion can occur over whether a product is recyclable, or whether it has been made from recycled materials, so check the packaging carefully.

Household Recycling Systems

The main way to sort and conveniently store your recycling material in the short term is to make use of a dedicated recycling bin. There are many different styles available, but all are designed to make the process of recycling as simple and convenient as possible. Some manufacturers produce specific designs to fit into their kitchen units, but it is also possible to buy more generic bins that will fit the vast majority of kitchen units.

A selection of different types of bins aim to make recycling easier, but also aim to be unobtrusive and make the best use of the available space. It helps if you compact the items for recycling before placing them in the bin, which saves space in your home, and makes it easier to transport them to a recycling center.

Some recycling bins are designed to be stacked up (image 1, below), to save on floor space. The stack can be disassembled for transporting to the recycling center, or separate sections can be left for collection by your local crew.

Pedal bins (image 2) are a more stylish solution for recycling. A bin that is internally subdivided makes it easier to sort different types of recycling.

Built-in recycling bins (image 3) are a good option for keeping recycling out of view, as well as utilizing space under a countertop. Most designs are internally divided, meaning recycling can be separated. Styles vary, but the principle remains the same. For more on installation, see opposite.

Countertop bins (image 4) conceal the body of the bin, which is set into the countertop. This design is commonly used for recycling food scraps or waste, such as vegetable peelings. These may then be composted domestically, or put out for collection.

Crushing Plastic Bottles

The space taken up by empty plastic bottles consists almost entirely of air. To crush a plastic bottle, remove the lid and crush the bottle with your hand or foot to compact it. Replace the lid when you have crushed the bottle to create a vacuum that prevents the bottle returning to a larger size. By doing this, a large amount of room is saved in storage and transit.

Crushing Metal Cans

To crush a can, place the can in the jaws of the crusher. There are many such gadgets available and a simple design allows most sizes of can to be crushed underfoot. Push down with your foot to flatten the can. As with plastic bottles, this saves space both in storage and transit.