How Do I Begin Recycling?

There is no such thing as “away”. When we throw anything away, it must go somewhere.

Each living being on the planet produces a certain amount of waste. This waste then plays a role on that person’s ecological footprint on the planet. We believe that each person should be responsible for their own waste in order to lessen the impacts on the environment. In other words, output should = effort to dispose of waste in a sustainable manner. Here are some ways you can begin this process.


1. At-home recycling system. To being a system of recycling you must first make the conscious decision to prevent discarding of any reusable item. This means you will have to know what to throw away and what to set aside in a recycle bin. You may be thinking, “What are recyclable items?” A recyclable item is any discarded material that has reusable value.

Recycle:                                                                                                                        Trash:





2. Stop discarding reusable items.  When you make a conscious decision to stop throwing away reusable items you are helping to save valuable resources from going to waste in our local landfills. Over 73% of what is thrown away each day can easily be recycled. This will dramatically reduce your waste which means you will be taking out the trash less often!

Take the One Less Bag Challenge and make taking out the trash a little easier. Pledge to find ways to reduce your waste by one bag a month.

It is crucial for our community to adopt the single bin system for free recycling in the city of Missoula. By doing this we will all be able to  continue to thrive in this beautiful state by providing a sustainable waste management system.stop


3. Create a recycle bin. The best way to deal with recyclables is to keep them all in one place until you are ready to take them in to your local recycling center. Missoula does offer curbside recycling as a part of your regular garbage pick up, with a small fee. But if you are a penny saver like myself and do not want to be charged to recycle, you can just create a recycle bin in your home. I use Sterilite 10 Gallon Tote Box that you can buy at Walmart for under $8, which fits easily in my pantry and keeps your recyclables stored with a cover until you are ready to take them in.

Sterilite 10 Gallon Tote Boxbin

4. Rinse your recyclables!

Why do we need to rinse our recyclables before recycling? Believe it or not it is one of the most important parts of recycling. It’s not only wasteful but it’s also just not sanitary: Food scraps can lead to mold and bacteria growth. If the containers hadn’t been rinsed out, the food still stuck to the insides would rot, attracting flies and maggots, yellow jackets, and rats.  Rats are GROSS, and carry lots and lots of diseases.
Imagine your bottle of half-eaten, four-month-old mayonnaise, hanging out in a stuffy warehouse and getting riper by the day. Not pleasant, is it? Clean will help to keep the stench down. Your token effort of scraping out as much food residue as you can with your leftover dishwater can make a big difference. If you use a dishwasher, try just filling a bowl with cold water and use it to clean out any food particles, ideally from several containers at once. Don’t forget that your food scraps can be composted!


5. Sort and save!