Fact: According to the EPA, Americans are recycling more than ever. In 2010 alone, homeowners helped keep 85.1 million tons of glass, plastic, paper, and yard waste out of the country’s bulging landfills.
Confession: I’d like to say that I get great joy from recycling, but the reality is I hate all the clutter. Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy to do my small part. It’s just that I’ve never had a very good system for keeping everything organized. In my hometown of New York City, recycling has been mandatory since 1989. Like my neighbors, I dutifully stockpile soup cans, aluminum foil, wire hangers, soda pop bottles, and towering stacks of newspapers and catalogs, then haul everything to my building’s basement recycling bins every day or so.
I reside in a relatively small apartment with my husband, two kids, and dog, so the ever-present bags of bottles and cans and stacks of newspapers and magazines drive me crazy. I like neat. I like clean. But I don’t have room for the spiffy built-in recycling bins or the oversized plastic storage containers my lucky friends with garages and garden sheds recruit for sorting aluminum, glass, and paper.
Solution: Enter Rubbermaid’s clever new Hidden Recycler and 2-in-1 Recycler, both of which are bound to thrill space-challenged recyclers everywhere. My personal favorite is the Hidden Recycler, a five-gallon, soft-sided fabric bag with a lid and sturdy plastic handle, which attaches to the inside of most cabinet doors. Made from recycled materials, the durable waterproof bag keeps up to 36 cans tidy and out of sight, plus the bags can be detached from the frame and machine-washed when dirty. Best of all, the whole contraption costs just $15.99.
The 2-in-1 Recycler is pretty sleek, too. The receptacle, which takes up 25 percent less floor space than most double recycling units, is divided into two containers. There’s a top bin with a lid as well as a second tilt-out bin on the bottom that makes it easy to separate recyclables from regular trash or to simply keep recyclables organized. Reasonably priced at $39.99, the trash bin also features Rubbermaid’s trademarked Liner Lock system, which guarantees that garbage bags “stay put no matter what.”
If you’re one of the fortunate homeowners with space to spare, Rubbermaid is also debuting its new Stackable Recycler in 20.5-, 24.5-, and 36.5-gallon sizes for both indoor and outdoor use. The heavy-duty units can be interchanged for various sorting jobs and feature hinged front doors that snap shut for secure transport. Prices range from $16.99 to $24.99.