5 Signs You Might be a Recycling Hoarder

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wine bottles, recycle, pile

Photo: Flickr/James Cridland

Do you inadvertently collect recyclables in your home? Are they spilling out of your cabinets or forming an ever-growing pile in the corner of your garage?

If so, you may be a recycling hoarder.

No, this may not be a serious instance of a hoarding problem, but many people accumulate recyclable items before disposing of them, including many of us at Earth911.

The good news is that if you’re hoarding recyclables, you’re doing something right: You’re not throwing these recyclables in the trash and this is commendable. Only half of Americans recycle daily, according to numbers compiled by GOOD magazine. The reasons for this vary, but generally people don’t recycle because it’s inconvenient, they forget or they aren’t sure how to recycle certain materials.

Even if your behavior is rooted in good intentions, you may have a problem on your hands. Earth911 has compiled a list of five ways to know if you may be a recycling hoarder and tips for how to break these habits and take recycling action.

1. Recyclables Are Piling Up

The first sign that you may be hoarding recyclables is that they take up a significant amount of space. Perhaps you’ve filled a drawer with spent batteries or your basement with old electronics.

An example of someone facing a space debacle is Nate Lipka, Earth911′s managing editor, who has a collection of expanded polystyrene packing material in the trunk of his car. Nate’s expanded polystyrene collection accumulated over the past few months, ever since he got married and started renovating his house. Most of the expanded polystyrene came from product packaging; everything from a new TV and appliances to wedding gifts. All that plastic used to be in his house, but he recently moved it to the trunk of his car since it was beginning to get in the way.

hoarding, expanded polystyrene

The trunk of Nate’s car is overflowing with expanded polystyrene. Photo: Jennifer Berry, Earth911

If your recyclables are encroaching on your living space, this might be a good moment to stop and assess the situation. How much space are you willing to dedicate to recycling? For how long? Set some space limits for yourself before things get out of hand.



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