Recycling in an Apartment that Doesn't Offer Recycling.

Happiest of New Years to you!

We are celebrating these early days of 2017 in our new home: A nice, cozy 2-bedroom apartment a few miles from our beloved home that we sold just after Christmas. We're building a log cabin home on our acreage, but it won't be ready until early summer (hopefully!) and we needed a place to land for a few months.

One of the things John and I like about this apartment is the nice amount of natural light in each room, the new carpet, the pet friendliness (they have a dog park and pet clean up stations!), and the quietness of the complex. There's not a lot of noise, and we really appreciate that.

However, we knew upon signing our lease that this particular apartment complex doesn't have a recycling service or a place to compost kitchen waste. This means everything - EVERYTHING - goes into a trash bag, into the dumpster, and directly into the landfill.

The gravity of this circumstance was evident when I took our tiny HyVee sack of trash to the dumpster and was greeted with two huge, overflowing dumpsters.

Our trash consumption consists of about 1 tall kitchen bag every week or week and a half.

It breaks my heart. Unfortunately, the office manager for our apartment complex said the owners aren't prioritizing a recycling service at the moment. This doesn't mean that those who live in apartments or condos are out of recycling options.

Here's what John and I are doing to recycle in an apartment complex that doesn't offer recycling:

We set up a bin in our office for paper recycling. 

Near the door, we have a large recycling can for mixed recyclables. As often as needed, we'll lug that can down the (three flights of) stairs and will take it to the nearest recycling facility. They accept recycling 6 days a week for free. Yes, this is time consuming. Yes, this requires more effort on our behalf rather than putting recycling on the curb. But, it's important. Sometimes what is important takes more time. 

Near the door, we also have a small can for glass recycling, which we will also empty as needed at our community recycling facility. 

In our old home, we would fill the large recycling can once a week, easily. However, it's not realistic to assume that John and I will be able to lug that can to the recycling center each week. Therefore, we needed to make some intentional adjustments: 
  • Break down all boxes and large items. 
  • Stuff those recycling cans full, strategically. Like a game of Tetris. 
  • Eliminate junk mailers, and eliminate paper waste by moving things to an electronic database or via email notification. 
  • Reduce the capacity of our recycling consumption. Recycling is great and all, but we can eliminate even more fossil fuel use by reducing the amount of packaging we consume in general. This is an entirely different post coming later in January!

Do you live in an area where recycling isn't offered? What tips do you have for recycling anyway? 


  1. We have to take our recycling to a local community recycling station as well. We have various totes in our garage that we fill up before making the trek 8 miles to drop it off. We have chosen this option rather than paying to have curbside recycling because we would have to pay for it. Just trying to be thrifty. It really is not a big deal to drop it off.

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