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20 DIY Indoor and Kitchen Recycling Bin Ideas

December 15, 2023
Woman recycling in kitchen

Recycling is an important way you can help the environment. By sorting out paper, plastic and aluminum waste, you’ll do your part to keep these materials out of landfills. But not everyone wants ugly bins sitting in their kitchen or other rooms.

Here are some DIY recycle bin ideas for making smart, attractive collection containers that can fit in any decor. They’re easy to make and start using immediately, and might just encourage you to recycle more often. 

DIY Indoor Recycling Bins

These bins will fit in your living room, den or utility room without drawing too much attention or disrupting your decor.

  1. Fabric Wrapped Basket – Make baskets attractive and useful for recyclables. Cover a wicker or wire basket with fabric and label it for recyclables.
  2. Fabric-Wrapped Can – Cover a tin can with fabric and make a recycling station. Add labels to the cans and they become a chic and eco-friendly storage option.
  3. Hanging Fabric Bags – Sew a fabric bag with a drawstring. You can then hang this bag on a hook or doorknob for easy storage and access.
  4. Hidden Cabinet – Use an old cabinet with doors as a station with trash cans inside. Decorate to fit your space, and cut holes into the top so you can drop in cans and bottles as you need.
  5. Laundry Sorter – Take the sorter that you’re no longer using in the laundry room and use it in the back room or office. If you’d like, build a cabinet to hide it.
  6. Magazine Holder – Repurpose a magazine holder as a vertical recycling bin. It can fit in small spaces, such as next to the couch or an easy chair.
  7. Stackable Milk Crates – Get crates at an organization store or even a dollar store. Stack them with an open side out, and use them with fabric bins or other just as they are as shelves to gather recyclables.
  8. Wooden Box – Use a wooden box with a lid as an indoor recycling bin. Use several as a recycling station and label them for specific items.
  9. Wooden Crate – Repurpose a wooden crate and attach hooks to hang small bags for indoor recycling. Paint them to create an attractive place to recycle.
  10. Wooden Pallet – Disassemble a wooden pallet. Use the pieces to create a rustic indoor recycling bin that can sit alongside your best furniture

DIY Kitchen Recycling Bins

Take advantage of extra space in your kitchen to create a recycling center.

  1. Cabinet Turntable – Many of us have that one cabinet in a corner that is hard to use. Add a turntable to the space and drop in two or three trash cans that you can use for your recyclables.
  2. Countertop – Use a small plastic container or repurpose a coffee can for a convenient countertop recycling bin. It can even be used for food scraps if you compost.
  3. Drawer – Use an old set of drawers and attach legs to create a functional and stylish indoor recycling bin. Line with plastic or old shopping bags if necessary.
  4. Hanging Storage Bins – Take small bins that are usually used for office supplies and repurpose them for small recyclables. Hang some pegs as a home for these bins.
  5. Kitty Litter Buckets – If you have a cat, you know how rugged kitty litter buckets are. Since you probably have a space for your cat food or cat box in the kitchen, these will fit in seamlessly. Build a station for them or just hide them in the pantry. When they’re full, they’re easily transported to outside bins.
  6. Laundry Baskets – Use a portion of the kitchen – say, part of the pantry – as a recycling station by adding a vertical space for slide-out laundry baskets. Organize paper, plastic, glass and your other recycling as needed.
  7. Metal Bucket – Use a metal bucket with a handle as a kitchen recycling bin for larger items. Hide it in the pantry or underneath the kitchen sink.
  8. Metal File Cabinet – Remove a top drawer from a file cabinet and place trash cans in the bottom drawer. This makes an easy-to-slide-out recycling station. This could go right next to a computer space you might have in a corner of the kitchen.
  9. Shopping Bags – Plastic-coated shopping bags with flat bottoms are perfect for recycling. Set them side by side in the pantry or in a corner of the kitchen and fill them with ease. They’re strong and have handles, so you’re ready to take them to recycling.
  10. Tilt-Out Trash Can – Create a tilt-out cabinet to store a large recycling bin out of sight in the kitchen. It can even be placed right next to the sink or any other spot that otherwise wouldn’t get much use.

Tips For More Effective Recycling

Here are a few ways you can be sure you’re recycling the best ways you can.

  • Combined materials are trash. Plastic-coated paper, laminated coffee cups and paper-bubble wrap envelopes combine two materials, which make them trash, not recyclable material.
  • Don’t recycle plastic bags. These can get caught in recycling machinery. Don’t put your recyclables into these bags either. They all end up as trash.
  • Don’t recycle small pieces. Anything smaller than a credit card can jam recycling machinery too. Put plastic caps back on the bottle. When plastic gets ground down, the different weights will be sorted out.
  • Know what can be recycled. Don’t throw just anything into a recycling bin if you don’t know what can be recycled. If it’s not recyclable, the entire bin will now be contaminated.
  • Know which plastics are recyclable. Plastics are given codes from 1 to 7, and are stamped on the plastics. The higher the number, the tougher they are to recycle. Most centers can only recycle plastics rated 1 and 2.
  • Recyclables must be clean, dry and empty. Food waste contaminates recyclables. Wash and dry anything that you’re throwing into a bin.

DIY Great Green Solutions for Your Home

Making your own recycling station is one great way to go green at home. Most of these projects are simple and will create a positive impact on the environment.

Try this recycling project and start taking advantage of your new station. Check the Brookfield Residential blog for more design and project advice, homebuying insights, mortgage tips, and more. If you’re ready to purchase a home, connect with our team to learn more.