recycling bin
image: Indiana Public Media

Saving the planet doesn’t have to look ugly. In fact, it shouldn’t. You should celebrate helping the environment with confetti and glitter and all manner of pretty things. Okay, maybe that’s going too far, but eco-trendy girls (and guys!) like you don’t need to store your recycling in unattractive containers. What the heck is your recycling doing in blah man-this-is-boring dull green or blue plastic bins?

Even if you store your recycling bins out of the public eye in that catch-all, the garage, why would you want to place humdrum bins anywhere in a home that you oh-so carefully filled with meaningful and stylish items? Spruce up your storage with these five inventive ways to store recycling.

1. Hanging coat rack

coat rack
image: leonardo.bonanni

Make use of limited kitchen or hallway space by going vertical. Hang a coat rack or several hooks on the wall to hold all of your recycling goodies. Store bottles, newspapers, cans and glass in separate bags hung from the hooks. I’d use cute (and reusable) canvas bags.

Not only does this method look charming, but it will also simplify recycling. Once the bags get stuffed full, throw them over your shoulders and head to the recycling center. Canvas bags are also easily washable for any spillage from bits of leftover food and beverages from jugs and cans.

2. Baskets 

bottles in basket
image: randomwire

Baskets offer the same storage convenience as conventional recycling bins; they just look a whole heck of a lot better. Use decorative woven baskets in varying sizes to stow the recycling items you typically accumulate more or less quickly. Line the baskets with cloth to keep them from getting dirty.

3. Milk crates

milk crate
image: puzzlement

Store newspapers or mixed paper in stackable milk crates. The lightweight crates hold just enough items that they’re always easy to lift. No more lugging (… or dragging) overfilled bins to the recycling center.

Many stores offer milk crates in fun colors. Place them indoors in a cute arrangement or stack them up as high as your fingertips can reach in the garage. Keep in mind: These are made of plastic and are best obtained salvaged from their landfill destiny. 

4. Wooden crates

wood crate
image: Just Another Wretch

Shallow wooden crates make sturdy and effective recycling storage. Their decorative vintage look means you can have them out and about around your home. Place one near the door to hold junk mail and newspapers, or use a few to hold glass bottles and milk jugs in the kitchen.

Some liquor stores still receive wine bottles in wooden crates. Ask around and maybe you’ll score a few for free. You can also find wooden crates in all sizes and shapes at flea markets and antique malls. 

5. An old dresser

dresser drawer
image: Kristin Roach

If you have the coveted luxury of space, try this cute idea! Store your recycling in a revamped old dresser. Hidden away in organized baskets or bags in the dresser drawers, your recyclable bottles, glass, newspapers and junk mail will never clutter up your house. Place the dresser in the garage or even outside near the garden for a shabby chic look.