Sustainable October: Can I do it?

Challenging myself to live by the sustainable trends seen on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.

Photo by Anna Shvets on

For the five weeks of October, will be changing few things about how I live in my apartment living to be more sustainable. I will be doing simple tasks that anyone can do while living in an apartment in the US. I will also be trying sustainable trends seen on Facebook and other social medias.

Week 1 Day 1

Set up a recycle bin and locate recycle center near me

Setting up the recycle bin should be easy. I went to my local thrift shop and found a few useable plastic bins and totes. I designated one for Paper, Metal, Plastic and Glass. Simple enough. I would like to add you should rinse your cans and bottles that had food or drinks in them, just to save yourself the hassle. I also placed a small basket for dead batteries which can be recycled as well.

You can buy recycle bins at many chain stores like Walmart, Target or online on Amazon. However, most of those suppliers use a lot of plastic in the shipping and the stores don’t always recycle the plastic and cardboard that the products come in. So to cut down on over all plastic usage for your self it would be best to use second hand. Or even just cardboard boxes to get you started.

There are so many different ideas and ways of setting up a recycle in a home that it can be a bit overwhelming. But do I say whatever you decide that you want in your home. If that means boxes by the door or the fancy bins from amazon, go for it. The point isn’t to be trendy, its to RECYCLE!

Now finding the recycle centers should be easy unless you live in a very rural area. A quick Google showed my tiny town in the Tri-Cites of TN has about ten.

As you can see there are many places that do recycling in my town. At the recycle center I go to the most there is a bin for paper, plastic (not bags), cardboard, and metals. I have to go to a different center to recycle glass, but that’s okay since I don’t use that much glass.

Some cities also have a recycle pick up where you can have a dumpster of a different color for recyclables. But that doesn’t happen too often for apartment complexes. It may be possible to convince your apartment complex to sign up but it takes the majority of the renters to agree in order to add a service for most places. But hey why not try?

Have items that you don’t know how to recycle? Like makeup, shampoo bottles, pens, markers, and tooth paste? Some companies also recycle their own products. Like Acure, Bic, Colgate and Burts Bees. I use the site TerraCycle for my recycle needs that go beyond the recycle center.

You can search by your recycle need and location and the site will propagate programs just for your recycling. The site has four options to choose from: Free recycling programs, Zero Waste Boxes, Regulated Waste Recycling and Large-Scale recycling. For the average American I suggest sticking to the Free Recycling Programs. For Apartment Complexes, Small Businesses and Local Groups, I would suggest going in together to buy a Zero Waste Box and do a recycle drive.

Personally, I struggle with going to get take away more than I should. I always stuggle with the Styrofoam cups. It is hard for me to find a place to recycle them. So for the rest of October, maybe even forever, I will be either using my own bottle of water or drinking from recyclable products. Sorry Chick fa Lay, I can’t get your sweet tea or ice coffee anymore. *silently cry*. Luckily, everything else for take away that I order is recyclable or even reusable. But I know that some take away and fast food places don’t use recyclable papers and products so for the average person, I suggest just thinking about the waster you will have before you order that take away food.

For Day 2, I will be using a reusable bottle and not buying any plastic products. Wish me Luck!

Photo by Pixabay on

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