From Old Stereo Console To Kitchen Recycling Station: How To Add Style To Your Home Recycling Efforts

Recycling has come a long way since the first Earth Day celebration was held more than four decades ago, on April 22, 1970. Once a somewhat obscure practice, recycling is now an accepted part of everyday life for most families in America. Even with this level of popularity, however, families still struggle with the problem of how to conveniently sort and store recyclable cans, bottles, plastics and paper trash until they can be picked up at the curb or taken to a local recycling center. If you would like to solve this problem in your own home in a fun and fashionable way, the following guide will show you how to create and use a freestanding recycling cabinet.   

Recycled Cabinets Make Interesting Recycling Centers

Finding a suitable old cabinet to repurpose into a fun, functional kitchen recycling center does not have to be difficult or costly. A great choice for this project is an old console stereo cabinet from the 60s or 70s or any cabinet or console with a flat, hinged lid.

To find the console or cabinet that will best fit your kitchen, first decide where the finished project will be placed and measure the space to get an idea of suitable length and width. With these measurements in mind, begin your search for a suitable cabinet. Some great places to search for this type of console cabinet include:

  • garages, attics and basements of older family members
  • thrift shops, rummage and yard sales
  • online classifieds and free sites like Freecycle

Adding Your Style to a Repurposed Cabinets

Once you find the perfect cabinet and get it home, you are ready to begin the transformation by removing any stereo components, speakers or other infrastructure from the interior. Next, repurpose or purchase four suitable bins or square buckets to fit the space (empty cat litter buckets or rectangular waste baskets are two examples that work well for this). Because they will be hidden from view by their location inside the console, you do not have to worry about removing labels or making sure the colors match your kitchen. Whatever containers you choose, however, must fit inside the space and be able to sit flush against each other in a side-by-side manner. This will make them easier to use for sorting and holding the cans, bottles, plastics and paper trash for recycling.

Once the interior of the cabinet is ready, it is time to focus on the exterior. Feel free to paint the exterior in any color you like to match or complement your kitchen. Depending on your preferences, you may want to decorate the front or sides of the cabinet with colorful bits of leftover tile, interesting pebbles or bits of wood trim. If you prefer, you can give it a more eclectic look by spelling out kitchen-related words with wooden letters from board games or by adding interesting buttons, vintage can labels or any other collectibles or items you like. Remember to choose paint and materials that will wipe clean easily when making your selections.  

After you paint the cabinet and apply the decorative features of your choice, remember to carefully clean the hinges on the lid and apply a bit of lubricant or oil to keep them working smoothly and quietly.

Usage Tips to Improve the Experience

Before beginning to use your recycling cabinet, remember to add helpful labels on the inside of the lid above each bin to guide family members in placing each can, bottle, paper or plastic item into the proper bin. To ensure that odors and pests will not become a problem, use the recycling guidelines given out by your recycling service and remind family members to remove food scraps and rinse out cans and bottles before depositing them into the recycling cabinet.

For more about this topic, contact a professional recycling service.