Five years, five apartment complexes, and only one with a recycling bin. Yeah, I move way too much.

In all that moving, it’s surprised me how few apartment complexes offer any kind of recycling. In addition to the places I’ve lived, I’ve toured dozens of complexes and rarely, if ever, do I find one with a recycling program.

One complex said it was too expensive for them to have recycling bins brought in, while another said they didn’t think their residents wanted one. My current complex has a bin, but I routinely see people throwing trash bags into it, despite the giant recycling logo printed across the side.

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Recycling in an apartment can feel like an impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are the four steps my family has taken to begin recycling in our apartment. Hopefully you can apply these same steps in your life to begin recycling.

1. Start with the Easy Stuff

When we started recycling in our new apartment, we focused on just a few materials. These were materials for which we knew we could find a local recycling drop-off point.

You’ll make the biggest impact if you hone in on easy-to-recycle materials. Here are a few suggestions:

  • #1 plastic (water bottles)
  • #2 plastic (milk jugs)
  • Cardboard
  • Paperboard (cereal and snack boxes)
  • Aluminum cans
  • Newspaper
  • Office paper
  • Grocery bags
  • Clear glass

If your city has a recycling location, chances are high they accept at least some of these items.

You’ll also want to keep your list relatively short in case you have to visit multiple locations to drop off your items.

2. Find Drop-Off Locations Near You

Before you start searching for drop-off locations, you may want to talk to someone in your apartment complex office. The first month we lived in our current apartment, we took our recycling to a couple of local drop-off locations nearby.

Then one day we discovered our complex had a recycling bin hidden behind a wall with no signage. That discovery has made life so much easier!

So check with your complex in case they have a hidden recycling bin. They may also know of the local…