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Think Beyond The Curb: Five Home Recycling Tips

J&J mom Katharine shares her recycling tips for how you can think “beyond the curb” and recycle more at home.
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Recycling is everywhere. Gone are the days of putting sorted bins of newspaper, glassware and aluminum cans on the curb. Many towns have single stream recycling collections where plastic, metal, and cardboard can go into the same bin. Beyond that, there is so much more than that can be recycled. As a working mom of three kids under the age of 5, my life is busy – but there is always time to be good to the earth.

I am still surprised by how many neighbors and friends openly share that they do not recycle at all. I am the opposite and might even think of myself as a bit of a recycling czar! Here are 5 home recycling tips that you can start using today to improve your recycling habits:

Think beyond the curb.

So much more than what goes in your neighborhood bin can be recycled. For example, my J&J location has on-site collections for batteries, and through a partnership with TerraCycle®, there are collection boxes for plastic toiletries bottles, small electronics, and writing utensils. My son’s school has a collection for used foil juice packs. A local organic market is runs a denim collection event to recycle old jeans into home insulation. Even consigning (or donating) your kids’ outgrown clothes and toys can count as recycling.

Start your kids recycling early.

Lay the foundation now to show your kids how to be good citizens of the earth. Kids love to help, and it’s easy for them to start learning the difference between what is recyclable and what is not.

Challenge yourself to trash less and recycle more.

My goal each week is to try to see if the amount of recycling we put out on the curb is greater than the amount of landfill trash we generate. Trust me, it’s actually not hard to do, even with two kids in diapers!

Put a second recycling bin upstairs.

Many people forget that a lot of bathroom waste is also recyclable (shampoo bottles, soap boxes, empty toilet paper rolls). Having a second bin upstairs can help you remember to include those items in your recycle bin. Care to Recycle®, a program from Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies has plenty of tips for recycling personal care items.

Composting is recycling.

Set up a compost bin in your backyard for kitchen scraps and yard waste. It is easy and you really do not have to do much. My town offered a how to compost class and I received a free bin for attending. For the less brave, see if there are any local compost pick up services and/or lobby your local government for curbside compost pick up (this is already mandatory in San Francisco and Vermont).

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As a company, one of Johnson and Johnson’s missions is to be responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to protect the environment and natural resources around us. As a parent, it is my responsibility to instill these same values into my children. Recycling is just one of many things we need to do, but setting the mindset early that recycling is an easy habit and part of our daily routine is a great start.

For more information on recycling in the bathroom, visit

Katharine Grugan has worked as a research scientist at Janssen Research & Development since 2011. She lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband, son Jack (4), daughters Hope (4) and Erin (1).

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