Yellow, blue and green rollout recycling bins.
Photo: Rev-a-Shelf, Inc.

Recycling Bins

Frequently, today's cleanup centers include both a dishwasher and a trash compactor --one on either side of the sink. In addition, you'll find a broad selection of built-in bins, baskets, and pullouts for organizing trash, recyclables, and composting scraps. Here are some shopping tips.

Trash compactors
Compactors reduce bulky trash such as cartons, cans, and bottles to a fourth of the original size. A typical compacted load --a week's worth of trash from a family of four --will weigh 20 to 28 pounds. Remember that a compactor is for dry, clean trash only --you'll still have to do some work.

Once considered an unequivocal boon, the trash compactor is currently viewed with disdain by many. Opponents state that recycling programs in urban areas have made compactors unnecessary; others argue that compressed trash takes longer to break down in landfills. But in remote locales, or in spots where recycling is nonexistent or impractical, a compactor might at least reduce the volume of trash that's thrown away.

If you're considering one, look for such features as a separate top-bin door for loading small items (even while the unit is operating), drop-down or tilt-out drawers for easy bag removal, and a charcoal-activated filter or deodorizer to control odor. Also look for a toe-operated door latch and a key-activated safety switch.

Standard appliance colors are available; finish options include custom wood panels with or without trim kits. Sizes vary from 12 to 18 inches wide (15 inches is standard), 18 to 241?2 inches deep, and 34 to 36 inches high.

Bins & basketsTrudging to the garage with every recyclable can or compost scrap can get old quickly. But where in the kitchen can you temporarily store potato peelings, aluminum and tin cans, glass bottles and jars, plastic milk jugs, newspapers, or paper bags?

If you're lucky enough to have a walk-in pantry, you might find space there for standard recycling bins or baskets. Otherwise, base cabinet drawers and pullouts or tall utility cabinets are the place to start.

Some bins and baskets sit behind standard doors; some pivot into place when the door opens; others slide out on pullout guides or from their own stackable frames. You can also buy special-use base cabinets with built-in dividers and tilt-down bins or retrofit standard two-drawer cabinets. Of course, if you're planning custom cabinets, you can also design your own system.


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