Quick, answer this – what is the single most important thing you could do to make recycling easier to do for you and the whole family?
Unless you are really fast you’re probably still struggling to come up with an idea. Let’s change that for you right now and share a great idea that is simple and yet highly effective.
What’s the answer? It’s simple – introduce some colour!
Why do we need to make recycling as easy as possible?
You’ve probably read the news stories that crop up from time to time in the papers. They typically reveal details about recycling and how there are going to be more changes, more bins, different ways to separate rubbish and so on. Not all of them are true of course, so let’s look at this issue more closely on an individual level.
Most people are happy and keen to recycle. They realise it is good for the planet if we can recycle as much as we can as often as we can. However we need to find a way to do it that doesn’t take up much time and doesn’t give us a lot of hassle.
This is where colour-coded bins come in useful. Let’s say you have three wheelie bins parked outside on your drive, or wherever you keep them. Now let’s suppose they were all the same colour. It wouldn’t be too practical would it? Even if they were all labelled the labels are going to get mucky before too long. You wouldn’t be able to put the right item in the right recycling bin without having to check the contents first. And in the case of garden rubbish… well, let’s just say it can get a bit smelly very quickly!
Now compare this to having three bins in three separate colours. Green for recyclables, brown for garden rubbish and black for general waste you can’t recycle in any way, shape or form (at least not yet). The next time you come out to pop a washed jar or can into the recycling bin, you’ll know exactly where to go without even having to think about it. You’d be surprised how much easier it is. Your brain doesn’t need to do much – it just needs to recognise the colours and what they stand for.
Colour saves mistakes
Have you ever thrown something into the wrong recycling bin? It’s a real pain isn’t it? After all they’re not the easiest of bins to go diving into if they are nearly empty, and yet if you leave the offending item in there you’ll end up contaminating the rest of the rubbish. That one item could ruin a whole load of recyclables by being in the wrong place.
By using colour-coded bins you vastly reduce the odds of doing this. You will probably end up with far fewer items thrown away in the wrong places once you’ve got used to where the bins are and which colours are used for which items. The more bins you have the longer it could take to get used to where things go, but still, with colours rather than small stickers it does make life easier.
It’s easier to teach the kids where things go
Most parents will know how hard it can be to teach kids to do certain things. We reckon throwing away their rubbish is one of the hardest of the lot to teach!
The easier you can make it for the kids to know where things go, the easier it will be to get them to do it each time. You’ll never hope for perfection (unless you’re very lucky) but it certainly sends them a positive step in the right direction.
One other thing you might want to think about is the colour of the bins you have indoors as well. There may be times when you want to dispose of your rubbish directly into the outdoor bin. However it is very likely you will end up depositing it in the relevant bins indoors and then transferring those outside once they’re full.
So why not get colour-coded ones outside that match the colour-coded ones that are inside (or vice versa)? It certainly makes life a lot easier for you and the kids. Everyone will know where certain items need to go and you can make sure you have far less problems with taking rubbish out and potentially tipping it into the wrong bin. It’s a win-win situation and even younger kids will respond to having brightly-coloured bins to use. If you want to be really strict about it why not use the Government WRAP recycling colour scheme.
Line up your bins in the same order each time you return them to their places
When the bins have been emptied, make sure you take a moment to put them all back exactly how they were before. If you had the brown garden bin on the left, the green recyclables one in the middle and the black one on the right, make sure you do the same again. It will mean everyone in the family can get used to the exact order of the bins and which one takes which items in that position. If you swap the order you’ll be surprised how many more things get thrown into the wrong bins – and that could mean they get rejected by the refuse collectors when they come to empty them.
As you can see there are a lot of advantages to opting for colour-coded bins if you can. Since they are available in plenty of different sizes you will easily be able to find the right bins for your requirements. Even if you own a business and you need some solid bins you can still go for different coloured ones to make the job easier.
Why not take a look at how you are recycling and using wheelie bins now? There could be some good reasons to make some smart changes, or to introduce the kids to recycling with ease. It doesn’t have to be a dull subject – it could be a very colourful one instead.