Even if you feel like you’ve been beaten over the head with tips for recycling, I can assure you there is still so much more to learn! In particular, living with roommates is a ton of fun but it can also be a huge pain if you don’t plan things out accordingly. Here are some useful tips for recycling when you aren’t living at home with your family anymore, and you really want things to go smoothly with your seemingly awesome roommates.
1. Stick to a Schedule
Tips for recycling can get tricky if you don’t even know where to start. Maybe this sounds really childish of me, but when I was in grade school and everyone had their own respective responsibilities for cleaning up the classroom, everything really did work out more efficiently. That brings me to proposing a similar method when you’re thinking of tips for recycling with roommates. Basically, pull out a large calendar you can write on, or even just any large piece of construction paper if you’re feeling lazy, and map out who is going to be in charge of what for the week. I found this extremely helpful when living with more than one roommate.
2. Reinforce Responsibilities
No one is telling you that you have to take on the role of your roommate’s parent, but it is important to advocate for what’s important to you, and crucial to our planet! Do not hesitate to reinforce the agreed upon responsibilities for recycling. It’s not easy living with other people who aren’t exactly obligated to look out for you and clean everything up. One of the best tips for recycling is speaking up when you have something you want to address. Also, nothing will ever get done if everyone just keeps glossing over what’s really important.
3. Confront Opposition
When you’re thinking of tips for recycling, something that is similar to reinforcing responsibilities is confronting any opposition you run into with your roommates. Not everyone values recycling as much as they should, so if you’re living with people who think that it doesn’t matter if they throw everything into the garbage, it’s important to address that. Don’t hesitate to explain to your roommates how much of a difference they can make by recycling, even if it’s just on a weekly basis. Recycling doesn’t always mean separating glass and metals; just using things twice that don’t need to be thrown out is defined as recycling. For example, you can reuse a plastic bag and that is one easy and valid form of recycling.
4. Ask for Help
Asking for help is very important when considering tips for recycling with roommates. When you live with someone, often your relationship with them changes dramatically, especially if you were close friends before. So don’t be afraid to ask a third party to back you up when you’re trying to get your roommates to recycle. Surely you aren’t the only one who is concerned about saving the planet, so don’t be afraid to confront your roommates once if you’re having an issue. If that doesn’t work, maybe ask for help from someone else the next time.
5. Stay Organized
One word: Organization. All of these tips for recycling probably won’t be helpful by any means if you aren’t able to keep things organized. One of the ways to do this that I mentioned before is suggesting a schedule. Beyond that, keep your recyclables organized or you completely defeat the purpose of recycling! In New York City all of the buildings have four separate cans: one for trash, two for metals, glass and plastics, and one for paper. If you are from somewhere that has a similar system, please try to stick to the system! And don’t forget to wash out your bottles before you throw them out. You wouldn’t want to drink from a bottle made from recycled plastic that someone didn’t wash out first!
6. Know the Rules
Under the same umbrella of staying organized is knowing the rules for recycling. Although many things may SEEM like they can be recycled, they really can’t. One prime example that must be included on this list of tips for recycling is Styrofoam. Styrofoam is actually something that no matter what you do, it can’t be recycled, and beyond that, decomposing it in waste facilities kills the environment. So the first thing to do is to stop using Styrofoam and things that look and feel like it. Stick to buying products that have been made from recyclable goods. Many of these can be found at stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.
7. Think Twice
Onto lucky number seven on this list of tips for recycling with roommates, think twice and don’t be afraid to ask your roommate if you need a second opinion. As I mentioned before, not everything can be recycled, but most things can. It’s not worth it to start an argument over recycling with your roommate, but don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and speak your mind. Worse comes to worst, you can recycle all the products and items YOU use and leave your roommates out of the equation. Sometimes you just have to pick and choose your battles, loves!
There are plenty of tips for recycling with roommates that many people are completely unaware of. Can you think of a tip for recycling with roommates that I may have missed? Have you ever had trouble recycling with roommates or even family members? Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences!