In a large family like ours, we have a lot of trash. Most folks are surprised at the fact that we don’t have that much that goes into a “trash” bag, headed for the landfill, however, what we do have a lot of is the different TYPES of trash. To avoid filling up landfills–all part of our belief in being stewards of our land–we try to send as little waste as possible to the dump. Thus, we recycle whatever we can. Over the years, we have a found a balance by sorting our trash into about 4 different piles: recycle (we can mix all our glass, plastic, cardboard, aluminum, etc. into one bin), paper for recycling or scrap use, paper with personal info for burning, and actual trash (anything that doesn’t fit into the other categories). Our collection area is our pantry, which is not very large–equivalent to a standard bedroom closet. With the kiddos “help,” I was finding the floor of my pantry constantly covered in trash due to an inefficient system of grocery sacks hanging on hooks that either dumped or from the kids getting confused which bag was for which trash, or whatever the reason. I went searching for a better option. I needed something that would fit into a tiny space, had 4 bins, and was simple and efficient. I think I’ve found the answer!
It’s quite a handy little sorter, actually, and very practical. First, I took the 4 bins and put photos on each so even the littlest children knew what type of waste went in which bin.
Since the top two are just papers, I don’t worry about a bag. If the scrap paper bin gets full, the handy handle allows it to simply be carried to the burn pile or the recycle bin outside. Likewise, the handle on the other “burn” paper bin allows the personal papers to be hauled to the fire pit. The entire paper container simply lifts off the trash bin below it. Of course, the fact that the bin just nests onto the lower bin means it would knock off pretty easily if bumped, but situated in a closet like ours, out of the way of traffic, it shouldn’t be getting bumped hard regularly.
I do put a bag in the bottom bins for recycle and trash, which can be wet or messy. It holds a standard 12-18 gallon bag. When full, this bin simply slides forward, out of the 3-sided backing section of the contraption. You don’t even have to lift the top bin off. The rest of the time, a gentle pull on the handle or step on the foot ledge tips the trash bin forward to deposit trash into it.
I’m loving these new bins. They seem to be perfectly suited to our needs. Although they don’t hold a whole lot, who really wants trash sitting around their house for several days anyway? The trash and recycle bins will easily fit our entire household trash for a day or two, and the small size makes it very simple for the child responsible for trash duty. So far, I highly recommend them!