5 Unique (And Fun!) Recycling Ideas That Take The ‘Chore’ Out Of Recycling At Home

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Does recycling sometimes seem like a chore?

Having to remember what you can and probably shouldn’t just toss out in a regular trash bin, knowing where those recyclable items need to be disposed of, and figuring out where to recycle fluorescent lightbulbs and CFL lightbulbs.

Whew, goodness! Recycling is starting to sound a little overwhelming as I list all of those different tasks — and those just barely scratch the surface.

Luckily, there are a few ways to make recycling easier at home.

Here are 5 unique recycling ideas that I’ve come up with:


#1 – Use Fun Recycling Bins

Getting a little bored with the standard blue and green recycling bins?

Broaden your recycling bin horizons and buy colorful recycle bins that you can throw your paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, and other recyclables into?

If you can’t find anything too outlandishly fun at your local home goods big box store, take an ordinary recycling bin and make it extraordinary!

Take a look at the happy (and hungry-looking) recycling bin to the right — a little creativity and a box cutter can turn any old recycle bin into a “happy” recycling receptacle.

I bet you can come up with some other fun ideas for turning an old recycling bin into something more inviting — and personable.

You could even get some spray paint and create your very own work of art on just about any recycling or trash bin.

Check out this huge recycling bin in Spain. Sure, that might be a bit too big to fit in your kitchen or garage, but I’m sure you could think of something just as creative to decorate your home recycling bins.


#2 – Buy Stacking, Larger, Or Taller Recycling Bins

What’s the one problem many of us have with recycling bins?

I know one of my pet peeves is that sometimes they’re just too small.

Case in point: I was discarding a ton of paper (well, not literally a ton, but it sure seemed like it). Where is all that paper going to go when the recycling bin is only about 2 cubic feet in size?

Buy a bigger recycling bin to eliminate that problem!

Another thing I don’t like about some recycling bins: they’re often just too inconvenient.

Some don’t have handles, making them awkward to carry. Others are simply oddly shaped, making them hard to stack or store.

The solution? Try a set of stacking recycling bins! They’re much more user-friendly. So are recycling bins with handles… or wheels.


#3 – Participate In A Local Recycling Event

I don’t know about you, but I like parties.

So, naturally it seems a party would make the task of recycling paper, plastic, and everything else that’s recyclable a lot more fun, right?

That’s why some cities are turning recycling into a community event!

Recycling parties are held all around the country. I bet there’s even one in your neck of the woods.

If not, create your own green party! Invite some friends over to your home for am afternoon of recycling fun. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, turn it into a green block party.

To make it even greener, plan your recycling party for Earth Day.


#4 – Shred Paper (…And Make Confetti!)

Remember I got talking a while ago about all that paper I was discarding? Well, I ended up buying a paper shredder a long time ago and quite enjoy using it from time to time.

Think about it… It’s a great way to protect your identity, eliminate paper waste, and make confetti — all at the same time!

If you don’t have much use for confetti, then you can use shredded paper for box stuffing when wrapping gifts or packing for a move.

No matter what you use the shredded paper for, you’ll want to remember these 2 things about paper shredders that I learned the hard way:

  1. Make sure you buy a paper shredder that’s large enough to handle the task. Some paper shredders handle only a few pages at a time; others can take on 20 or more pages in a single bite.
  2. Be careful shredding staples and paper clips. I once threw in a small stack of stapled papers and the shredder started to seize up after chewing on the staple. Some shredders handle staples; others don’t.

Aside from that, paper shredders are pretty low maintenance and easy to handle — and a ton of fun to use!

TIP: Buy a cross-cutting paper shredder for extra security and for smaller bits of recycled confetti. Here’s a good summary of what to look for in a paper shredder.


#5 – Turn Cardboard Into Useful Items

Have any big cardboard boxes from things like kitchen appliances, TVs, or any of those recycling bins I suggested above?

If so, you can turn those cardboard boxes into furniture!

That’s right! I once met someone who upcycled a bunch of cardboard boxes into a really cool study desk.

Another great way to recycle cardboard is to turn it into toys.

When I was really young, my parents let me enjoy a refrigerator box, which I quickly turned into a fort. Here’s an example of an elaborate cardboard playhouse:

There are a lot of great ideas out there for turning corrugated cardboard panels into furniture, toys, and other neat things.

Here are some fun ideas:


A pet chaise lounge


A study fort

Cardboard Study Fort
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And cardboard shelving


Best of all, if you get tired of your cardboard creations, you can simply recycle them!


Even More Creative Recycling Ideas

Recycling Fun
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As an advocate for good health, I usually try to choose the 'greener' option over other more dangerous and/or wasteful options. Generally speaking, if it's bad for your health or the planet, I try to avoid it. In my effort to live green, I like to find new (healthier) budget-friendly ways to do things -- from cleaning to recycling to home decorating. My goal is to help you take the chore out of living green by sharing fun new ecofriendly ideas that you can try today... or any day! My all-time favorite way to live green is to repurpose items and give them a new use -- and I've written a lot of DIY articles showing how I've done it.

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