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Trash Course: A Recycling Station

Recycling may save the planet -- but it ruins the corner of your kitchen until collection day. An easy-to-make sorting station will help you get in order.




Resources: 6 1/2-gallon tins, and Elfa medium 2-runner drawer,


  • One 4-by-4-foot pegboard
  • Semigloss latex paint
  • Nine pegboard hooks
  • Nine 1/2-inch-thick plastic washers
  • Nine 2-inch screws
  • Nine molly bolts
  • Three large handled bins
  • Two large wire baskets
  • Recycling station stickers


  1. Step 1

    Purchase a 4-by-4-foot pegboard at a home-improvement store (or have one cut to that size). If you like, paint it with a semigloss latex paint and let it dry.

  2. Step 2

    Mount the pegboard on the wall. See the following instructions: To mount the recycling station on your wall, first hold the pegboard where you would like it to hang and mark the nine points where screws will be inserted -- one in each corner, one near the middle of each edge, and one in the center. Then install a molly bolt in the wall at each of those marks: Pre-drill a hole in the wall that has the same diameter as the molly's shank, then tap the molly into the hole with a hammer until it is flush with the wall. Next, at each screw position, place a washer on the front of the pegboard before inserting the screw into the board, and then add a plastic spacer to that same screw on the back side of the board. (The plastic spacers will create an open area behind the board for the ends of the hooks to come through.) With all of these layers in place, drive the screws through into the molly bolts to secure the board to the wall.

  3. Step 3

    Decide where on the board you'd like your three containers to hang. Insert two of the hooks into the pegboard where each handle will be.

  4. Step 4

    Hang the canisters on the hooks and add additional hooks for can liners, twine, and scissors. Place large wire baskets underneath for old newspapers and cardboard refuse.

Blueprint, March/April 2007



Reviews (19)

  • kq80 22 Jan, 2011

    @dollfriend: Click on the link "Recycling Station How-To" under the Materials section of the post. Hope that helps :)

  • dollfriend 21 Jan, 2011

    This was in today's e-mail, under Assigned Spaces. When I clicked on the "Print our custom labels" link, this is what came up, and I can't find the labels. I guess it doesn't matter, since we would never have the room for this "station" anyway, but I thought I might like to put the labels on our containers.

  • donyskiw 28 Dec, 2010

    The 6 1/2-gallon buckets are no longer available at the Container Store. I put mine in the garage. Pegboard was not something I wanted to hang on my kitchen wall (and wouldn't have space for anyway).

  • 3327nyquise 9 Dec, 2010

    Wouldn't it be easier to put 4 containers on the floor and call it a day?

  • maryjangel 9 Dec, 2010

    I'm not an engineer, but I figured if you put the washer through the screw, and put the screw in the [filtered word] of the pegboard (pre drilled) and then put the spacer at the back of the pegboard before it goes on the wall (a little dab of hot melt if it won't stay put) then screw in top left corner. and check the rest that they line up properly and screw them home. You could also make your spacers from small blocks of wood glued to the pegboard where the hooks would not be needed.

  • paulahale 9 Dec, 2010

    I just want to know who has all this space in their homes for this kind of stuff.

  • MariquitaJ 6 Dec, 2010

    Wish the pic was clearer. Cannot figure out how these 1/2-gallons tins are held to the peg board????

  • donyskiw 30 Jul, 2010

    Does anyone ever try these projects out before posting them to the Internet? How are you supposed to get the screws through the spacers and the peg board into the wall? Once you get one done, the peg board doesn't fold so you can get the others in. Do you need arms that flatten to 1/2 inch thick to reach back and hold the spacers in place? I'm an engineer and a pretty handy person but this project is proving to be frustrating.

  • madmommaonwheels 9 Dec, 2009

    My company is called and we are a small business that has 2 bags that are "kitchen to curb" friendly! Please check us out!

  • LaylaStar 7 May, 2009

    Interesting ideas!
    We're considering setting something up too, to avoid the clutter! :)

    Kamala, have you considered a bokashi or Green Cone? You can compost meat and bones in them too!
    Do a bit of research and see if they are something you could be happy with! :)

  • Airabelle 21 Nov, 2008

    Recycling needs lots of innovation. I solved my newspaper and clean boxes waste problem by purchasing a seat/foot rest/attractive chest and incorporatied it into the living room. It is in plain site, useful and handy and at the same time secretly storing "2 weeks" worth of papers and mags and flattened boxes. Also cereal boxes are great for stuffing newspapers etc makes taking out to the recycle bin a snap.

  • auntlizzie 24 Oct, 2008

    I need some ideas for recylcing containers for newspapers and bottles/cans that will hold two weeks' worth and be halfway attractive. I use my enclosed porch as the recycling spot and everybody comes in

  • ratgirl 16 Aug, 2008

    Kamala, you can't compost meat, dairy, or eggs because of the intense smell, flies, maggots, and scavengers--not something that's likely to endear you to the neighbors. Plant matter is very easy to compost. Our city sells composters dirt cheap (Get it? :)) We toss scraps in and they disappear. In summer you can hear the worms working and in winter, the heat of decomposition melts the snow around it. Neato! Being a vegan family, we can dump in all of our scraps and leftovers. Very handy!

  • imwithdino 13 Aug, 2008

    I have something similar to this set up in my garage. I researched what can be recycled in my area and where the drop off location is. I have set up separate bins for each type of recyclable and have them clearly labeled. I also posted a chart indicating examples of what can and can not be recycled just in case we have any question when it comes time to throw something away. It's clean, neat, and organized - but the best part is that we've seen a dramatic reduction in our trash!

  • Kamala 11 Aug, 2008

    Mumra1st: wow, where do you live? i've been wanting to do compost for awhile but really have no clue where to begin. i especially want to compost meat (since our household are big meat eaters). i just want to be able to not waste anything as much as possible. any advice?

  • tess_of_st_paul 11 Aug, 2008

    The peg board is way too big for this project -- roughly 1/3 of it isn't being used.
    The other things that I would include here are the recycling pick up scheduled (even if it's weekly -- it's a good reminder.) And the locations of the city hazardous waste sites and large compost sites.

  • Steph137 9 Aug, 2008

    This is a great idea for people who are just starting out recycling, but I recycle so much each week, I'm not sure my recycling would fit in those containers!

  • Mumra1st 9 Aug, 2008

    This will of course be conditional on the amount of recycling available in your area. I would not recommend such a large container for compost as they should be emptied every day. A one gallon container is preferable. I have been recycling/composting for over ten years as our municipality was in the forefront of this and made it mandatory. We still have the backyard composts for the garden but now that they collect meat/fish refuse along with the compost we use the municipal one and empty the small container daily into the large one outdoors. Fortunately for us they provided both small and large containers. This is a great idea otherwise.

  • Maryigold 9 Aug, 2008

    Thank you! A wonderful
    Mary Ann.