START A PETITION34,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

Can a Simple Design Fix Make Recycling Unavoidable?

Green Lifestyle  (tags: greenliving, greenproducts, eco-friendly, recycling, sustainable, green, design, coolstuff )

- 1281 days ago -
Can a redesigned trash can make recycling unavoidable in every room? We think so, but we need your help to make it happen. Please note this so the Care2 community knows about our project and can support us so that we can give our idea a try. Thanks!

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


David K. (2)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 6:52 pm
I couldn't get to the site, but I have a question. How do you empty this can?

And what I consider the biggest obstacle to recycling is the fact that many things are not accepted as recyclables. Many types of plastic for example.

Below is a list of some troublesome items I found online:

Aerosol cans: Sure, they're metal. But since spray cans also contain propellants and chemicals, most municipal systems treat them as hazardous material.

Batteries: These are generally handled separately from both regular trash and curbside recycling.

Brightly dyed paper: Strong paper dyes work just like that red sock in your white laundry.

Ceramics and pottery: This includes things such as coffee mugs. You may be able to use these in the garden.

Diapers: It is not commercially feasible to reclaim the paper and plastic in disposable diapers.

Hazardous waste: This includes household chemicals, motor oil, antifreeze and other liquid coolants. Motor oil is recyclable, but it is usually handled separately from household items. Find out how your community handles hazardous materials before you need those services.

Household glass: Window panes, mirrors, light bulbs and tableware are impractical to recycle. Bottles and jars are usually fine. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) are recyclable, but contain a small amount of mercury and shouldn't be treated as common household bulbs. For ideas on how to handle them, see 5 ways to dispose of old CFLs.

Juice boxes and other coated cardboard drink containers. Some manufacturers have begun producing recyclable containers. These will be specially marked. The rest are not suitable for reprocessing.

Medical waste: Syringes, tubing, scalpels and other biohazards should be disposed as such.

Napkins and paper towels: Discouraged because of what they may have absorbed. Consider composting.

Pizza boxes: Too much grease. While some compost enthusiasts steer clear of adding pizza box cardboard to their pile, others report no problems. It's that or the trash.

Plastic bags and plastic wrap: If possible, clean and reuse the bags. Make sure neither gets into the environment.

Plastic-coated boxes, plastic food boxes, or plastic without recycling marks: Dispose of safely.

Plastic screw-on tops: Dispose separately from recyclable plastic bottles. Remember that smaller caps are a choking hazard.

Styrofoam: See if your community has a special facility for this.

Tires: Many states require separate disposal of tires (and collect a fee at the point of sale for that purpose).

Tyvek shipping envelopes: These are the kind used by the post office and overnight delivery companies.

Wet paper: In general, recyclers take a pass on paper items that have been exposed to water. The fibers may be damaged, and there are contamination risks.

Your municipal recycling system gets the final say as to what belongs in your bin. Some areas will restrict more items that we've listed. Other have special programs for dealing with problematic materials. In most cases, municipal systems are happy to provide written guidelines. Wondering how to recycle something your local system wonít take? Pop over to the Earth911 website and see what is available in your area.

Copyright Lighter Footstep 2009

Above article found here

Mariah M. (0)
Sunday March 24, 2013, 8:13 pm
love this, great idea.

Kath P. (9)
Monday March 25, 2013, 5:31 am
Like David K. I was wondering how you would empty this can.

Jeffrey Helfrich (0)
Monday March 25, 2013, 5:54 am
@David and Kath -- it snaps apart for emptying. You can see a video demonstrating how it works here: David, we are with you. More stuff should be recyclable and it should be less troublesome generally. But the idea here is to get people who normally are too lazy to recycle to do it. I speak from experience here because I (Jeff) was lazy about recycling. If there is a recycle bin in every room you have to choose to NOT recycle. Most people won't do that we hope. We are trying to get the word out about our project, because we cannot make it happen unless we raise funds for a mold to make this little trash/recycle can by Earth Day.

Gloria picchetti (311)
Monday March 25, 2013, 5:56 am
I think it's better to have your own recycling containers that fit your home and lifestyle.

Frans Badenhorst (581)
Monday March 25, 2013, 6:10 am
very good idea, very good.... thanks for posting

Roger Skinner (14)
Monday March 25, 2013, 6:31 am
The link to the Kickstarter site, has more info:

So. to answer the question about emptying it, the two parts snap together and can be separated.

One thing about this, is that it is small: Height: 13.78" Diameter at Widest: 10" tapering down to 8"
It won't take much to fill up one side of that.

Many Feathers (139)
Monday March 25, 2013, 6:44 am

Jeffrey Helfrich (0)
Monday March 25, 2013, 6:53 am
We went with the small size because the idea is that every room should have a recycle bin. We figured most people (hopefully) have one big recycle bin in their house. Yet only 30% of recyclable material gets recycled despite 90% of people having access to recycling programs. So somewhere we are losing a lot of recyclables. Could it be in rooms where there is not a recycle bin today (e.g. bathroom, bedroom, den, etc.)?

Natalie S. (12)
Monday March 25, 2013, 7:58 am
A wonderful idea, I hope it works out. However, as with many things, unless there is a commitment to do something, a hundred and one excuses will be found to avoid doing it and recycling is one of these. I'm a recycling fanatic and at home we separate magazines/newspapers and other smaller paper items, plastic and metal. Then I visit the skips that are only 5 minutes away about twice a week to empty the bins ... still, with all the convenience, I sometimes don't feel like the short walk, so I can imagine what it feels like for someone who is less motivated. Thanks for sharing!

Anna Undebeck (256)
Monday March 25, 2013, 11:19 am
Great idea! Thanks a lot for sharing Jeffrey

Sharon W. (4)
Monday March 25, 2013, 12:55 pm
Honestly, I thought that all people have this o.O

Birgit W. (159)
Monday March 25, 2013, 1:00 pm
Great! Thanks

Mary Donnelly (47)
Monday March 25, 2013, 1:22 pm
Interesting post and coments--thanks.

Natalie V. (27)
Monday March 25, 2013, 4:21 pm

Christeen Anderson (657)
Monday March 25, 2013, 4:23 pm
Good idea. Thanks.

Winn Adams (203)
Monday March 25, 2013, 6:42 pm

Darcie Busch (0)
Monday March 25, 2013, 8:03 pm
thank you.

Sue Clayton (8)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 12:07 am
In Australia we've had 2 sided indoor trash cans for a number of years. They work well and for those asking about emptying........put bin bags inside the non recyclable side and when the bag is full just tie the top and put into large outdoor bin. Empty the recycling side straight into the large outdoor recycle bin. I'm assuming every household has two separate outdoor bins, 1 for recycling and 1 for other waste. This works extremely well and it's very easy to keep your trash separate.

Julie W. (30)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 12:37 am
Sue, it may vary from state to state. In W.Australia we have one large bin for household rubbish picked up each week. Another bin for recyclables is collected every two weeks.

It takes all paper, most plastics, cans , glass bottles and jars. All my food waste goes into compost.

Joanne S. (0)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 3:19 am

Past Member (0)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 7:22 am
Maybe you could have used 2 plastic bags in the one bin?

Sergio Padilla (63)
Wednesday April 3, 2013, 10:12 am

Debbie Crowe (86)
Sunday April 28, 2013, 2:22 am
Where was this trash can 25 years ago when my son was throwing away everything? I was constantly digging out stuff to recycle!

Our city used to have the separate bins for recyclables. They just started the 1 bin for recyclables and 1 for trash about 2 months ago. I have separated it for 25 years, so it is a hard habit to break.
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.

New to Care2? Start Here.