Tuesday, November 6, 2012

3 Great Recycling Accessories

Remember the days when everything went into the trash?  Newspaper, packaging, food scraps ... even beverage containers wouldn't get you a nickel if you could find a place to take them.  Recycling is now (thankfully) a common occurrence, but has also brought with it the problem of how to integrate it into our daily lives.  After all, saving all those papers, bottles and tin cans to be re-used is all great and fine, but where exactly are you supposed to put it all?

The most common vehicle for storing recyclables in most areas is the "blue box" programme.  Functional, but realistically who wants a big plastic box in the middle of their kitchen?  Fortunately there are a number of really great accessories that can address that.  Not only will they hide your recycling behind a cabinet door, they offer the ability to sort your recycling before it goes to the curb and do so in the convenience of your own kitchen.

The pull-out shown here is from the Euro-Cargo line carried by Richelieu.  What I like about this line of pull-outs is how robust they are.  You can find all sorts of recycling centres at various big-box retailers that look like they'll do the job, but if you examine them closely you'll discover construction techniques that will undoubtedly fail after a short time.  You can expect to pay anywhere from $250-$500 for one of the Euro-Cargo units, but they're built to last.  In addition they come in many different configurations allowing you to combine recycling with trash and even composting.

I have an on-again-off-again love affair with corners.  They can be tricky to design around, and even trickier when it comes to what you can store in them.  This "Rondo" unit (also available through Richelieu) suggests you put your recycling in the corner.  The sink-corner application shown here is a perfect way to take two areas of difficult storage and address them with one simple accessory.  Before adding the Rondo to your accessory list, make sure there's enough room around the plumbing.  The sink in the picture seems to be conveniently lacking any.

If you're fortunate enough to be working with a kitchen designer who has access to a custom shop you could also design something to meet your specific needs.  I would love to take credit for the pull-out shown here, but it was designed and built by my client after we gave up trying to find something pre-made.  I'm showing this recycling unit for two reasons:

1) It's just really clever and I wanted to give credit where credit was due.

2) It shows just how with a little thought you can add some convenience without sacrificing storage that is so essential in a smaller kitchen.

I've written about this before, but it bares repeating.  Keeping the recycling in your kitchen takes up space.  Simply putting a Blue Box in a standard base cabinet would require at least an 18" wide cabinet.  That's 18" of cabinet space you're using to store something you're not consuming.  I'm not saying that this is a bad idea, but in a smaller kitchen where storage is at a premium that space could be used to store things you would use every day.  If possible, find room beneath the sink where you typically would store cleaning items and a garbage bin, or see if you can use a roll-out in the bottom half of a cabinet leaving room above your recycling for more typical kitchen items.

If you have to store your recycling outside, consider it a good opportunity to get outside and grab some fresh air.

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