Make a DIY Recycle Bin

White plastic recycling bins

By designer and television personality Taniya Nayak

As a designer, I love finding ways to add my own personal touch to my home by transforming everyday items into something new. I especially love working with plastics because they can live on through recycling or reuse thanks to their durability and versatility. When you find additional uses for your everyday plastics beyond their original purpose, you help contribute to sustainability by keeping used plastics out of landfills. It can be as simple as growing seedlings in an empty plastic cottage cheese container or reusing a plastic TV dinner tray to organize small items in the garage.

Or, if you love DIY projects (like I do!), you can get a little more creative. Below is a fun way to create a decorative and functional recycling station for your home, using everyday plastics.

Recycling Station

Most of us have lots of recyclable plastics throughout our homes, but sometimes an unsightly bin can discourage us from recycling everything we can. But it doesn’t have to be that way! It’s easier than you may think to build an attractive, organized recycling station in your home, making it easier for your family to recycle while organizing and beautifying your living space.

  • Start with a large piece of pegboard, paint it a color of your choice, and hang it on a wall of your kitchen or other appropriate room. The pegboard will serve as the backdrop for your recycling center. It helps add color and texture, differentiating the recycling station from the rest of the room while giving you a place to hang recycling bins and other accessories.
  • Purchase—or better yet, find and reuse—three large, plastic buckets: one for plastic bottles and containers, one for plastic bags and films*, and one for other lightweight recyclables. The size of the buckets will depend on how much recyclable material your family produces. The buckets should have handles on each side so you can easily hang them from the pegboard.
  • Label each bucket according to the type of recyclable material it will contain. A fun way to do this is with pictures. You can make stencils by simply drawing a plastic bag, a plastic bottle, and a can on pieces of construction paper. Cut out the images and paint on the bucket using your stencil.
  • At the hardware store, purchase hooks that can be attached to the pegboard, and use them to hang the buckets. Make sure to buy hooks that are large enough to bear the weight of buckets fully loaded with recyclables. Space them evenly across the pegboard.
  • You now have an attractive space in your home that is dedicated to recycling, helping to remind your family to recycle every day. You can even use the space above the buckets to hang other kitchen items.

* Plastic bags and film (including grocery bags, dry cleaning film, product wraps, newspaper delivery bags, etc.) are collected at thousands of retail locations. Visit for more information.