At my house we don't have a recycling bin. We have a recycling closet with no less than a dozen different categories of items. This is in addition to the small caches of items that I have stashed around the house that are not readily recyclable, but that I'm sure can be diverted from the waste stream if I can just find a creative solution. One of those caches finally made its way out of our house, much to Steve's delight.
Above, Silas is surrounded by two years worth of plastic lids that have been waiting to find new life. Many people just throw lids in their regular plastic recycling, but they shouldn't. There are a number of reasons that they are not accepted: lids are almost always made from a different plastic than the bodies of their containers, causing contamination if they are recycled together; they don't readily compact when batches of plastic are baled; and they easily jam recycling equipment. For these reasons, almost no recyclers accept them mixed in with other plastics. Even if you remove them from their containers and throw them in with the plastics thinking that they might somehow be separated and recycled, they won't. They end up in the landfill either way or our waterways where they are easily mistaken as a tasty treat by sea birds. Not a good thing.
I couldn't handle throwing all of these milk jug, shampoo bottle, and other lids in the trash. So, I started separating them out and keeping them in a bag, certain that a solution would present itself if I just waited long enough. It did.
For awhile now, Aveda has been accepting these rigid, threaded plastic lids, which they recycle into new lids for their haircare products. They've partnered with 1,600 schools around the country to raise awareness and to collect these lids. If your local school doesn't participate, you can also drop them off at Aveda salons, which is what I did.
Some enterprising recyclers have also set up cap recycling programs, such as the Caps Can Do program in Columbus, Ohio. Check with your local recycler to see what they do and don't accept and if they don't accept lids, take them with you to your next hair cut. It seems like such a small gesture, but as you can see in the photo above, just two people go through many, many lids in a short amount of time. In the aggregate, keeping them out of the trash keeps them out of the bellies of turtles and that is a good thing.