The recycling is collected at supermarkets*, rather than with the other kerbside recycling, so we needed a separate container to accumulate it in. Initially we used a plastic bag sock, but that wasn't very suitable: small things fell out, and transferring the contents into a plastic bag to put into the recycling container was a pain. I realised I wanted a way to accumulate the recycling in a container that could itself be recycled (to eliminate the double-handling we'd been doing), was quite capacious (to accommodate bulky things like bubble wrap) but that had a firm base and a tight top (so little things didn't fall out).
*find your local collection site here - they're in Auckland, the North Shore and Hamilton, with hopes to expand throughout the country over the next few years.
Inspired by the rubbish bin we had when I was a child (which held heavy paper bags securely in place by folding the top of the bag under a rigid ring), this is what I came up with.
A bag that contained a regular supermarket plastic bag, with the handles of that bag folded over a rigid ring and secured by a loop of elastic. When the bag is full you tie the handles of the supermarket bag together then remove it through a zip at the bottom.
|removing the internal plastic bag full of recycling.|
It only took me about 1 1/2 hours to make (handsewing), it's made almost completely out of reclaimed/upcycled materials and it's working well! Here's how I did it :-)
- a bag or pillowcase, a bit bigger than a supermarket plastic bag. We used an old rice sack. If you don't have such a bag you could use a piece of fabric around 50x82cm, sewn into a tube around 40cm across;
- cotton to match;
- at least 30cm of wide elastic;
- a zip (as long as the width of your bag);
- at least 30cm of thin-ish cable (or anything else that's flexible enough to bend into a circle about 10-15cm across, but firm enough to stay fairly rigid in that shape). I used an old laptop power cable, about 3mm across;
- around 20cm of cotton tape or cord;
- duct tape (not shown).
|supplies (duct tape and yellow thread not shown)|
|my bag was a similar width to the supermarket bag I wanted it to contain, but taller than needed.|
2. Insert a zip across the full length of the bottom of the tube.
3. Fold over the top of the bag to make a narrow tube that will comfortably hold the cable (like the tube you would make to hold elastic).
4. Insert the cable into the tube.
6. Sew the tube shut over the joined-up cable ends.
7. Make a circle of elastic that's tighter than the rigid neck of the bag. This is what will hold your plastic bag in place - if f the elastic isn't fairly tight, the handles will just fall out. I initially made mine too loose and had to shorten it - that's why you can see it's sewn in two places.
8. Sew the elastic onto the bag, a little below the tube with the cable in it. Attach it at both the middle of the front and the middle of the back. If you only attach it at the back, the plastic bag handles won't stay put. I stitched a square at each attachment point to spread the load.
We've attached ours to a hook on the side of our fridge (using a long loop as I originally intended to hang it from the pantry door handle).
It's best to hang it in a low-traffic area. Our pantry door is right next to a door we use all the time, so when we hung the bag there we kept walking into it, causing it to swing around and generally get in the way. Since we've moved it, it's been fine.
|bag hanging at right-angles to the pantry door after being walked into.|