11 Ways to Make Collecting Waste at Home Easy

There’s enough to worry about during lockdown without wondering where you’re going to stash all of your waste for recycling.

So, we’ve made it as easy as possible with the ultimate list of hacks for storing waste at home, created by the people who know best – our collectors! 

  1. Collect and store waste in cereal boxes, like Noah has done in the very first picture! Once you’ve dropped off your waste or packed it up for recycling, you can either reuse or recycle them!
  1. Use other types of TerraCycle® waste to use as storage, such as bread bags, You can even keep crisp packets inside bigger crisp packets and double up on recycling! 
Photo by Recycle for KC Northern Ireland (Vicky & Jennifer)

  1. If you’re a ‘heavyweight’ collector, organise your waste into different sized boxes, then stack them on top of each other (like Russian dolls). Place a brick on top to compact it all down and save space – et voila!
Video by Sussex Green Living (Joy)
  1. Download, print, and stick our accepted waste posters to plastic storage boxes, so that everybody at home knows which waste goes where. No excuses!
  1. Give a new life to old plastic crates – they can double up as a clever way to sort different types of waste.
Picture by Alison
  1. Recycling can be thirsty work, so use large water bottles to collect pens to make them far easier to carry.
Picture by Región de Murcia Limpia
  1. Slot sheets of cardboard inside a container to keep things organised, especially when space is limited or you have a lot of different types of waste to collect.
Picture by Plastic Free Letchworth
  1. TerraCycle®’s very own Lillian made a DIY collection box, perfect for small spaces! All you need is a cardboard box, scissors, sellotape and a flair for craftsmanship. Click here to view the full DIY guide.
  1. If the shoe fits… keep the box and use it to store your recycling! Shoe boxes are a handy size and fit neatly into small spaces. 
Picture by Rich
  1. Rinse, dry and stack wet pet food pouches in a small tray so you can squish a lot more in! 
Video by Tadworth & Local Area Recycling

11. Squash what you can! Like Pringles tubes, if they’re compressed you can store and package more of them. Press down on the cardboard tube and then using your heel, press the metal bottom flat.

Video by Recycling in Lancing (Sue)

All the tips featured in this article were sourced from entries in the #KeepOnRecycling contest that ran from April – August 2020.

Thanks for reading our collector’s best tips – have you got your own pro-tips to share with us? Comment below – we’d love to add them to this article and create the ultimate guide for collecting at home! 

9 thoughts on “11 Ways to Make Collecting Waste at Home Easy

  1. It would be great to see more counties following the same standards for recycling. Here in Oxfordshire we have Cherwell and West Oxfordshire where the regulations appear to be different. What really concerns me is where the material to be recycled goes to. It is a product that needs to dealt with here in the United Kingdom.


    1. Hi Greg, we agree that good recycling regulations should be applied to all counties to make it easier for all citizens.
      We cannot speak for other companies or local authorities, but I can assure you that the waste we collect at TerraCycle is sent to our facilities in the United Kingdom, where they are recycled and used to make new products.
      Feel free to check our video explaining our solution here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lg_9_Dz1FMc
      Best wishes, and happy holidays, Claire


      1. Thank you Claire, but other than finding a local collection point, the TerraCycle programme seems to be prohibitively expensive. I have stopped buying Gloucester cheese.


  2. I haven’t got anywhere near me that I can take my pet food pouches to, so unfortunately I will have to throw them in my wheelie bin. They are all washed and pushed inside each other. It’s a shame as I’ve been collecting them for ages and must have quite a few hundred. Crisp packets aren’t too bad because there was somewhere local that took them before this pandemic started and I’m hoping I can still pass them on.


    1. Hi Sheila, we’re sorry not all areas are covered in all our free recycling programmes.
      As our system is based on volunteering from our collectors, it’s up to them if they want to become a public drop-off collection point and where they choose to set it up. For some programmes though (like the pet food pouches one), even if we have applications from people wanting to become a collection point, we don’t always have the capacity needed to accept more, hence why some programmes are full even if not all the territory is covered.
      Some public drop-off locations have also closed temporarily following the government guidelines, so we advise you to store your waste if you can until you can see if you have public drop-off locations re-opening later on.
      I hope this explanation helps.
      Best wishes, Claire


    1. Hi Malcolm, thanks for your question.
      We have free recycling programmes for different waste streams, which you can find on this page: http://www.terracycle.com/en-GB/brigades. For each programme, you’ll have an interactive map displaying the public drop-off collections points where you can take your waste.
      I hope this helps.
      Best wishes, Claire


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