Organize your Pantry and Recycle at the Same Time!

Quite possibly the only negative to eating healthy is that much of the ingredients come in bags – beans, nuts, seeds, whole wheat/grain pastas, dried fruit. That makes for a messy pantry. What’s a clean eater to do to keep her pantry clean?

That’s where our refusal to throw away non-recyclable plastics comes in. Our county only recycles ones and twos with a neck. As a result, the cabinet under my antique washstand has become filled with #5 plastics that we hope to use for crafts or other projects. A few weeks ago, when I had a million other things to do, I decided it was time to organize the pantry.

This was the result:

Organize Your Pantry and Recycle at the Same Time! recycle - repurpose - reuse

Nice and organized! It no longer stresses me to look for something on the shelf. I’m hoping it will lessen the instances of me buying something I already have because I missed it in the sea of bags.

I should’ve taken a before picture so you could see what it looked like. Picture each of the above items in a separate bag. E gads! They were all just laying in a pile on the shelf. It kind of looked like this times 12:

Organize Your Pantry and Recycle at the Same Time!

I chose not to put nuts and dried fruit into the containers because we go through them really quickly. Having these few bags doesn’t bother me and now they stay propped up on a separate shelf.

Organizing this way saves you time by making things easier to find in your pantry. It saves you money because you are using recycled containers instead of buying storage containers. And, of course, it saves the environment. You don’t have to be part of the problem by buying new plastic containers that took energy and resources to make. You are part of the solution because you didn’t put these used plastics in a landfill! All you need are a few supplies.

Organize Your Pantry Materials

  • recycled plastic container, washed and dried
  • scissors
  • tape

Cut out the name, nutrition information, and cooking instructions from the bag. Tape the food name and nutritional information on the outside of the container. Pour the food into the container and place the cooking instructions on top of the food. Close the lid and store.

You could get fancier and more creative with this, but it’s supposed to be a time and money saver, so I did not decorate them. I chose not to write the name on the outside of the container because I want to be able to reuse these containers in the future, perhaps for something else. If you want to make them pretty, be my guest! I’d love to see a variation of this on your own blog one day (as long as you link back, of course!).

4 thoughts on “Organize your Pantry and Recycle at the Same Time!

  1. Dorothy Geyer

    So I hate to burst the recycle bubble, but if you read
    Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too by Beth Terry(Author), which I highly reccommend, the truth about these plastics and the plastic bags is that they degrade and offgas. Maybe York county will follow James City county by expanding the plastic numbers to include everything and you can feel better about ditching those plastics. I have taken the plastic free challenge and boy is it hard!! I have now almost fully divested myself of plastic containers for the freezers and replaced them with glassware.

    1. Lisa Post author

      Great info, Dorothy! I hope York County does this, too! I’m not hopeful, though. At one point, they tried to get rid of standard recycling altogether and make it a paid service. We were prepared to pay if we had to, but weren’t thrilled about it. Our locality in Canada recycles EVERYTHING! It’s embarrassing here in the States.

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