Organize my Trash!
June 6, 2016 7:09 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for a way to organize for multiple recyclables, compost, slops, etc.

I have a small "gallery" type kitchen. Space is at a premium. However, I currently need to separate recyclables, trash that can be burned, trash that can't be burned, compost, pig slops, food scraps for the chickens.

Right now I have one trash can and two recyclable trash cans (these are all what I would consider medium sized) and a random assortment of bowls that end up with food scraps. For awhile we did a good job separating trash to be burned from trash that couldn't by using the trash in the bathroom for stuff that couldn't be burned, but that was also a hassle). Under the sink I have compost, but we haven't used it much recently partly because most of the food ends up getting eaten by the pig or chickens and also because once I had to lock up the kitchen drawers to keep out the kids it became a little more difficult to throw stuff away.

I'd love to cut down on the amount of trash we have also, but I think we would still need all these different containers.

Forgot to mention that we also have a wetbag for cleaning towels, cloth napkins, etc.

So----I guess if I need to sort all these things there is no better way to organize them? Maybe someone has a brilliant plan. I don't really want to pay 75-100 bucks for a nice recyclables bin. Honestly, half the time the recyclables end up all over because they don't fit in the trash cans we do have.

Bonus question--Anyway to keep all these receptacles clean? I clean out my recyclables, but the trash cans inevitably get stinky and look dirty pretty much immediately.

I would prefer solutions of something that we could build or make versus buying expensive trash cans.
posted by aetg to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
To clarify, because this is pretty important and I'm not understanding the problem/priority perhaps, you do not live in an apartment/townhouse type situation right?

I mean you mention having a pig (and chickens!) to feed (which is awesome) but you're also acting like there isn't a way to store all/some of this stuff outside in large/cheap bins until you're ready to use it.

Assuming you can, I'd change my workflow to include a step whereby after (or hell even during) meal prep I'd take out that batch of recyclables and/or non-burnable trash so that portion, at least, of the equation was solved, if trivially.

Beyond that, and I'm not acting like an expert here because I'm not, but is there a reason you couldn't store the other non-landfill garbage categories (as I read it: pig edibles, chicken edibles, burnable garbage, and compost) all together and just sort them later (read: outside or coop/sty/burnpile side)? It's not like any of those items are really all that sensitive, though I certainly applaud and admire (and will likely one day emulate) your ongoing battle to reduce your waste stream.

TL;DR - Maybe more info on your workflow would help folks provide feedback lest assumptions sour the answers...
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:35 AM on June 6, 2016

I agree some more workflow info would be welcome! Like, with the recyclables, are you taking them to the dump once a month or are they getting picked up curbside once a week, and what volume or recyclables do you accumulate before they leave your property?

Basically why do you feel like you need to keep all this stuff in the kitchen?
posted by mskyle at 7:48 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have this Scrap Trap and love it. It hooks over the trash can and serves as a compostables collection; I can also hook it over the top of a drawer while I'm prepping/cooking, and just sweep all the vegetable scraps into it as I work.

So, our setup, which is admittedly much less complicated: one cabinet pullout, with a trash can in front (and compostables piggyback) and containers-recycling in back, both unlidded, both take regular kitchen-size plastic trash bags (paper recycling doesn't live in the kitchen). On trash day (or when the bin fills up), take the trash bag to the curb, dump the recyclables into the outdoor bin and take to the curb, and place the slightly-damp trash bag from the recyclables bin into the trash container to start receiving trash. Dump out compostables into worm bin, scrape out with worm trowel, rinse out and dump that dirty water into the garden.

My trash pullout is like this, and here is one with three bins instead of two, though it does of course cost money.
You might consider something like this for collecting small amounts of trash in small plastic-grocery sacks. I understand that you may be going to some effort to avoid having a massive collection of plastic grocery sacks, because they're evil pollutants, but if you won't have plastic sacks in your house, there's really no way to keep your trash containers clean and non-stinky without washing them out (and drying them!) every time they're empty.
posted by aimedwander at 7:51 AM on June 6, 2016

Response by poster: Just to clarify...everything isn't in the kitchen. We have outside bins for recycling, I just don't go out there except one or two times a week.
posted by aetg at 10:31 AM on June 6, 2016

Response by poster: aimedwander, I like the look of the scrap trap. At the very least it looks more like a purposeful solution as opposed to the random bowl method we are using right now.

We might consider something like the trash bin doors. We currently have ours in a type of structure, but it is a little more temporary. Maybe I just need to hide ours a bit more to make it seem less...everywhere..
posted by aetg at 7:49 PM on June 6, 2016

We have outside bins for recycling, I just don't go out there except one or two times a week.

I'm assuming these animals are outside, and need to be tended at least every day or two.

Get the person who is tending the animals to take the recyclables to the bins, or if one of the kids is old enough maybe they could take the recyclables out.
posted by yohko at 4:21 PM on June 7, 2016

This is already marked answered, but I have another suggestion. I use 6 Ikea Trones shoe cabinets for my recycling boxes. They're very shallow, which works for my galley space, and lets me have all my glass, paper, etc in individual holders, and they only store enough that the volume is easy to take out (so you can't just collect glass forever and then get stuck lugging a ton of weight around to get rid of it). Plus they're plastic so you can take the basket out and wash it in the shower when it inevitably gathers funk. The price does put them at the $80 point you're hoping to avoid, but I really love them, so it might be worth considering anyway.
posted by sldownard at 12:23 AM on July 10, 2016

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