Sort With Style: 30+ Ways To Make Or Upgrade Home Recycling Stations

By Harpreet K

Recycling is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce your environmental impact. By recycling, you can conserve natural resources, reduce pollution, and save energy. In fact, recycling one aluminum may save enough energy to power a TV for three hours!

To recycle efficiently and easily, a home sorting system will save you the time and energy of sorting the night before recycling pickup day. It could be as straightforward as having a few dividers in a bin in your garage, or as complex as separate receptacles for each type of material.

Whatever system you choose, educate yourself on what goes into each bin so that you’re correctly sorting your recyclables. And don’t forget to wash your items!

If you want to make or upgrade your own recycling system at home, read on for some ideas on how to make your home a little greener…

1. Wooden recycling station

If you’re like most homeowners, you probably have a few old wooden boxes sitting around your house. Why not put them to amazing use and create a recycling station? Set it close to where you typically place recyclable items near the garage.

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Place your wooden boxes in the chosen location. Start painting or staining them in whatever colors or designs you like. Make sure they’re sturdy enough to hold up to some heavy use. You may want to secure them with screws or nails so they don’t wobble or collapse when full.

2. Kitty litter-inspired recycling station

This one is for the cat owners out there. If you’re looking for a sustainable, long-lasting solution for your recycling needs, you should consider using sturdy kitty litter boxes! Not only are they durable, but they are eco-friendly. After all, you’re upcycling!

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If you’re a cat owner, you won’t have trouble sourcing these boxes. To add some extra flair, you can decorate the outside. Use pray paint to color the boxes according to the material you’ll be sorting in them. No one will know they were ever used for kitty litter!

3. Hang some bags 

Hang some bags to use as recycling stations! This is an excellent idea for keeping your home tidy and promoting recycling without too much effort. Choose suitable bags. Make sure the handles are sturdy and won’t rip under the weight of your recyclables.

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Make sure the bag is big enough to fit all of your recyclables. A 30-40 gallon bag should be plenty large enough. Label the bag so everyone in the house knows what goes in it. You can even decorate the bags to make them more fun.

4. Drawers for recycling

This idea will help keep your home tidy while making it easy for you to recycle. Plus, if you have kids, setting up a recycling station that’s within their reach is a great way to teach them how to recycle properly.

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To get started, get some bins or boxes that fit into the designated drawers. With so many options available at the store or online, you shouldn’t have trouble finding ones to fit your drawers. Once your containers are set up, start sorting your recyclable materials into separate piles.

5. Custom recycle bins

Custom recycling bins are the way to go if you’re looking for a stylish and functional way to recycle. Classy recycling stations start with great containers. You may choose from various styles to find the perfect match for your home or office, and label them according to what you may plan to recycle.

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Stock up on colors that complement your decor, like cream-colored receptacles for paper items or pastel green bins for glass and plastic. Brighten up your collections with bins in fresh hues, like blue. And don’t forget the labels! Whether you use sharpie markers or printed decals, clearly labeling your containers will make them easier to identify.

6. Recycling cabinet makeover

An old cabinet makeover can be a great way to create a recycling station for your home. Just remove the cabinet doors and replace them with a piece of plywood that’s been cut to size. Ensure the hole in the back of the cabinet fits your trash can.

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Then color it to match your décor and attach it to the cabinet with hinges. Finally, add a few hooks to the front of the cabinet to hang recycling bags or baskets. Now you have a convenient area to store recyclable materials inside your home.

7. Kid-friendly recycle box

Transform a cardboard box into a recycling bin for your kid with a few easy steps! Cut two holes in the top of the box for handles. Decorate the box with stickers, paint, or markers to make it look fun! Label each section of the recycling symbol on the side of the box.

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Put a small garbage can inside the box to hold any trash that doesn’t belong in recycling. Show your kids how to recycle everything they can and teach them why recycling is essential! They may recycle old broken toys, cardboard, and snack packages to get started.

8. Aesthetically pleasing recycling station

Just because something is aesthetically pleasing doesn’t mean it can’t be used for recycled! Many recycling stations are pretty lovely to look at. There’re so many different color combinations that you can choose from when outfitting your own personal recycling station.

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You could go for a classic black and white combo or add a pop of color with some fun accents. And there’s no need to feel guilty about being conscientious and stylish — recycling is hot right now. So go ahead and set up that beautiful recycling station of your dreams!

9. Easy rotating bins

While there’re a number of different ways to approach recycling in the kitchen, a rotating bin system is one of the most accessible and convenient options. Here’s how it works: you have a few bins that rotate around a central post, making it easy to access and sort your recyclables.

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There are a few things to remember when choosing a rotating recycling bin system. First, select one that fits comfortably under your kitchen cabinet. And second, choose bins with lids to keep pests out and recyclables clean. Be sure to color-code your bins according to the type of recyclable material. 

10. Stackable bins 

When you are on the hunt for an option to easily recycle materials in your home, stackable bins are a great option. You should place the bin near the trash can, so it’s easy to recycle materials as soon as you finish using them.

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Choose a bin that matches your décor or theme. You may find bins in all sorts of colors and styles. Ensure the bin is big enough to hold all your recyclable materials. Label each bin with the type of material it should contain (paper, plastic, metal, etc.).

11. Bright recycling bins

Some people recycle because it’s a necessary evil, but others find it exciting. You might be in the latter camp if you have brightly colored recycling bins in your home. It’s a way to add some personality to an otherwise mundane task.

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Let’s be honest; anything that makes recycling less of a chore is good. And with such an impressive and stylish recycling setup, your guests might be inspired to make their own. Choose different colored bins, such as blue bins for paper products and green bins for glass and plastic.

12. Dedicated kitchen bins

Having dedicated kitchen bins for recycling waste can help make your kitchen more organized and eco-friendly. Sort your waste into recyclable and non-recyclable stuff. This will help you to recycle more effectively and avoid contaminating your recycling bin with non-recyclable items.

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If you have space, consider having separate bins for different recyclable materials. This will make it easier to recycle appropriately and avoid the hassle of sorting the bins come recycling day. Some items, such as food waste, can be composted instead of recycled.

13. Multicolor recycling bin

Why not paint a multicolor psychedelic recycling bin to help make recycling more fun and engaging? It would be a great way to add color and personality to your home while also helping the environment. As a bonus, it’s a fun project for the whole family! First, you’ll need some basic supplies.

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Grab some primer, paint, and brushes in the colors of your choice. You’ll also need something to protect your surfaces from paint drips — old newspapers will do the trick. Begin by priming the bin with a few coats of white primer — this will help the colors pop.

14. Ikea recycling upgrade

You can upcycle an Ikea cupboard to make a recycling station. Simply remove the doors from an Ikea cabinet and replace them with sturdy hooks. Hang the cabinet on the wall and use the hooks to store your recycling bags. This is a great idea to keep your recycling organized and accessible.

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If the cupboard has a drawer, use it to store reusable recycling materials such as newspapers, plastic bags, etc. Use contact adhesive or screws to attach hooks or nails to the inside of the cupboard door. This cupboard station will be a long-term solution for your recycling needs. 

15. Cute labeled bins 

What an exciting and easy way to get organized! By adding labeled bins to your backyard, you can easily recycle. It’s also a great option to teach your kids about sorting the trash as per the labels. And the most amazing part is that it’s super easy and budget-friendly.

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All you need are bins and printer paper with printed labels. It’s an exciting way to show your love for the environment and help keep our planet clean. With a little creativity, you may make your backyard recycling center look as cute as it can be.

16. Recycling for small spaces

Recycling can be challenging in small spaces, but smaller bins make it much more manageable. Use smaller bins that may easily fit under your sink or on a shelf. Label each bin with the type of waste it contains so you know which goes where.

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Create a schedule for emptying the bins and stick to them. That way, you won’t have to deal with an overflow of recyclable waste building up in your home. If your city doesn’t offer curbside recycling pick-up, see if there’s a local recycling center nearby that will accept your recycling. 

17. Use fancy labels

Recycling has never sounded so exciting. Calling it a “Reclamation Station” or a “Resource Recovery Station” makes it sound like something out of a futuristic sci-fi movie. You may imagine the machines’ glowing green light bulbs and sleek, shiny surfaces. Using fancy labels on our recycling station can help remind people of this critical message.

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It’s intriguing and eye-catching. Perhaps it will even inspire your guests to make a sorting system in their own homes. For some extra thematic flair, you can add some Wall-E-themed stickers or even dress up your bins like the helpful robot.

18. Stackable recycling station

It’s possible to create a recycling station using plastic bins and wood. This easy-to-stack design is a space saver. You may use nails or screws to attach the bins to the wood for a more permanent solution. For extra security, you could use some type of adhesive.

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The number of plastic bins you’ll need will depend on how many different types of recyclable materials you want to collect. A good starting point would be three or four bins for each of the most common recyclable materials: paper, plastics, glass, and metal.

19. Painted metal bins

Are you wondering how you may add a personal touch to those ever-useful recycling bins? It turns out, it’s easy to give metal cans a colorful new lease on life with some paint and a little elbow grease. Here’s how you can turn those timeless tins into works of art.

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Clean the bin with soapy water and a sponge. Rinse it off and let dry well. Next, prime the metal with a spray primer designed for use on bare metal surfaces. Once the primer is dry, carefully apply your chosen paint color(s) using either a brush or roller.

20. Horseshoes recycling game 

Why not make recycling fun with a horseshoes recycling game? It’s a great way to get the whole family involved in helping at home. Plus, it’s a fun way to teach kids about the importance of recycling. All you need are a couple of boards and some painted strips to indicate the target zones.

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You’ll also need plenty of recycled materials for the bags. Make sure everything is clean and dry before using it. To play, each person takes turns throwing into the target. The closer you get to the center, the more points you score. 

21. Woodwork recycling sorter 

If you’re looking to add a recycling sorting station to your home, a great way to do it is with a rectangular wooden sorter. You may make your recycling sorter out of wood! Cut four boards to the dimensions you want for your finished product. Two should be the same length.

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The other two should be the same width. Make sure all four boards are at least 1 inch thick. Drill evenly spaced holes along two opposite sides of each board using a drill bit that is slightly wider than your dowel rods. Cut dowel rods to fit snugly into the holes you drilled. 

22. Planter recycling station 

There’s no need to experience guilt about throwing away your old wooden planters — you can recycle them into a recycling station! With creativity, you can upcycle your planter into a great way to store and sort recyclables. Sand down the surface of the planter and paint it with chalkboard paint.

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This will give you a nice surface to label each recycling bin. Drill holes into the sides of the planter and insert handles — that’ll make moving it around easier. Place bins inside the planter and label them accordingly: glass, plastics, paper, etc. And don’t forget to add a lid!

23. DIY recycling sorter 

You can make a sorting station for recyclables using garbage bags and wood pallets. First, build a base and frame out of pallets. Make sure to build it sturdy so it will support the weight of the containers, especially when they’re full.

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Next, take four garbage bins and fit them to the frame. Since the tops won’t be visible, make sure to label the sides for easy access. This project is customizable, so you can build as many spaces as you need.

24. Recycling on the rack

Set aside a rack with bins labeled to use as a recycling station. You may use a wooden or a metal rack, both of which have their benefits and downsides. Metal racks are sturdier and usually hold more weight, which is helpful if you have a lot of recyclables.

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Wooden recycling racks are quieter than metal racks, and they don’t get as hot in the sun, but they aren’t as sturdy as metal racks. Plus, wooden racks can sometimes warp or rot if exposed to too much moisture. So it’s crucial to choose a wooden rack made from treated wood.

25. Color-coded recycling 

Here’s a novel way to make recycling more fun and interactive: color coded your recycling bins! Each type of recyclable material could be assigned a different color, making it visually easy for people to separate their trash accordingly. For example, plastic could be purple, metal could be silver, and glass could be green.

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Not only would this system make recycling more straightforward and more efficient, but it would also add a dash of excitement to the process. By color coding the bins, we can make sure that each type of material ends up in the right place. Different materials are recycled differently, so it’s essential to sort them properly. 

26. Adorable monster recycler 

You can turn your boring old paint recycle bin into a fun and adorable monster recycler! It’s easy. First, take some colorful fabric or paper and cut out a few large pieces in the shape of monster eyes, teeth, and lips. Use hot glue to securely attach them to the bin.

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Next, use some fake fur or batting to create a fuzzy monster body. Cut it to the right size and hot glue it on the back of your recycle bin. Finally, give your creature a few finishing touches by adding some wiggly eyes, a scary mouth, and any other exciting details you can think of! 

27. Double-duty bin 

When it’s about keeping your house clean and tidy, there are a few simple rules you should always follow. One of those rules is to have separate bins for your different types of waste. A garbage bin should be for all the general waste that you produce each day.

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This includes food scraps (if you don’t have a composter), food wrappers, and other bits and pieces that can’t be recycled. Depending on the waste you generate in your home, you might need more space for the garbage side. Make sure to proportion the bins appropriately according to your needs.

28. Simple rolled bin

Using rolled bins is ideal as they’re more space-efficient. You can usually fit about twice as much stuff in a rolled bin than in a regular trash can. This is perfect if you’re tight on space or want to hamper overzealous recyclers from cramming too much into the bins.

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Let’s be honest; rolled bins are just plain nicer to look at than regular trash cans. They may bring a touch of elegance to your recycling operation — no one will even guess there’s garbage inside! Moreover, They make it easy to separate different recyclables. 

29. Small sorting bins 

Small bins are a great option if you’re looking for a way to sort your recycling at home! You may stack these with holes in front of two bins and keep the top one covered. This way, it’ll be less challenging to add recyclables. Also, consider the size of your recyclables.

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You’ll want to make sure that the sorting bins you choose are large enough to accommodate all of your materials. Besides, think about which materials you’ll be recycling most often. You’ll want to select bins that make it easy to sort these items without having to mix them with other materials. 

30. Outdoor recycling station

You don’t have to be a hoarder to love the idea of a recycling station hidden in your backyard. You’ll need to find a large enough spot to accommodate all the bins and containers. Consider factors like sunlight, rainfall, and wind direction when choosing a location.

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Gather all the bins and containers you’ll need for your recycling station. This may include a compost bin, recycling bin, general waste bin, and various smaller containers for sorting different types of recyclable material. Place all the bins in one area and cover them with wood to keep them enclosed. 

31. Make it a game

Why not add a little fun to recycling by adding a basketball hoop over the bin? This will make the act of recycling a little more fun, especially for kids. Plus, it will score you some serious green points with Mother Nature.

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This also works as a great way to get some exercise. If you have an old basketball hoop, install it over the bin instead of throwing it in the trash. You can paint the hoop to match the color of the bin to make it look more cohesive. 

32. DIY recycling plastic bins

Take a few same-size plastic bins and stack them on top. Add labels and directions for recycling on the side. Labeling your recycling bins is a great way to ensure that everyone in your household knows which items go into each bin.

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It can be tricky to know what type of plastic is recyclable, but with a little labeling, it’s easy to keep track. Cut out the shapes for your labels from a transparent plastic sheet. You could also use contact paper or vinyl if you have it on hand.

33. Upcycled Bin

To wrap up this list, we’ve got the perfect bin for you. What better way to get you in the mood to recycle than to make a bin out of old plastic bottles? For this DIY project, you’ll need some wire and a few dozen clean plastic bottles.

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After you wash and dry all the bottles, cut off the bottom part of them. Then, make a cascading stack of them. Thread a metal pole through the hole of each stack. Attach the poles to two rings and you’re good to go!