How-To: Strengthen and Enhance a Recycle Bin

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header_mendingmonth.gifThis isn’t really a mending project, but it’s in the spirit of mending, and helped me teach a valuable lesson to my 13-year-old son about repair and reuse, as opposed to “throw it out and buy a new one.”
It all started when I got sick of looking at the brown paper bag of recycling sitting next to the kitchen table. Besides the look, I didn’t like the idea of needing to keep paper bags around to then take out and put into the recycling bin. What a waste.
I found a plastic trash receptacle I liked, and it was made out of biodegradable plastic, according to the green sticker inside it. Bonus! So our recycling bin was hip-looking, didn’t take up much space, and could be used day after day. All was good in the world.
Besides taking out the recycling, my teenage son brings in firewood for our wood-burning stove. He usually takes the recycling out, then brings in an armful of wood on the way back. He tried putting the wood inside the recycling bin, which was fine, but he’s a 13-year-old boy, so he can be a little rough on things. Rough, like dropping the plastic bin full of wood on the tile floor from a height of 2 feet or so.
Long story short: my precious, biodegradable, plastic recycling bin suffered a big gnarly crack along the bottom, which extended slightly up the side. What to do? Throw it away and make my son buy a new one? Go back to paper bags? How about try and repair the bin together, mother and son. Duct tape to the rescue!
Lining up the crack on the bottom was easy, and covering it on both sides, inside and out, was a great strengthener. It was a little harder to line up the crack on the side, but once we got it lined up, we went around the entire bottom edge of the bin, adding a stripe of gray to the bottom. It looked great and was much stronger, but because I’m a bit pedantic, I made us add a strip of duct tape around the top edge as well. More symmetrical and balanced, right?!
My son is actually proud of the work we did, and since it took a bit away from his leisure time, he’s much more careful when bringing the wood in. Behold the amazing power of duct tape.

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Sometimes helpful editor and digital media director at MAKE and CRAFT.

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