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Does Size Matter?

“If we are to be taken seriously, we must first practice what we preach.”

After reading, the Sustainability in Graphic Design article I was actually inspired to initiate the practices that were suggested towards the end of the article in the workplace. We currently use recycled paper as of right now, however as the article states we can go beyond the preliminary practices by evaluating the communication materials and objectives of the vendors that we use. On a personal note, question that has been on my mind for quite sometime is the size of our recycling bins in our everyday lives. We recycle so much at home that our bin is constantly overflowing to the point where we use another clear bin for the additional products. The picture above only depicts the recycled items accumulated ONE day after the garbage has been picked up so you can imagine what it may look like after 1 week. I’ve always questioned, if there is a massive effort to place an emphasis on recycling, which is the provided container so much smaller than the dumpster? The same can be seen at work (my recycling bin is dwarfed by my trash can).




This is SO interesting. I’ve never considered the size of recycling bins at all! I lived without recycling while doing my under grad in Florida. No recycling came to our apartment complex and if we wanted it we’d have to pay for it. :( I’m so adamant about recycling now that I’m back in New York. Great post.


At least to some extent, I think the typically small size of recycling bins is meant to convey a statement about how little effort it takes to recycle. I imagine fewer people would start recycling if they initially thought that they were expected to pick through their garbage to the point that they could fill a standard fifty-gallon trash can with recyclable material. It might be that once you start to recycle, and realize the small container isn’t large enough, you’re more likely to independently seek out a larger bin.


You make a good point here. We are urged to recycle yet look at the size of the bin available. Sure it shouldn’t limit your tendency to do it anyway, but some people may be lazy and see an overflowing bin and think, “well, I can throw it away just this one time.” Recycling bins should have all the rights of a garbage can :P p.s. love the title of your post :)

Scott Howard

This is an interesting point, as I am sure when the recycling bin starts overflowing many people just toss stuff in the garbage bin. If this relationship was more equal, that could possibly increase recycling.


Good point, Although recycling has been around for a long time it has become more popular recently. I feel as if using the smaller recycling bins was a less intrusive way of getting people to start recycling. Now that recycling has become a such a large part of peoples lives it, the bins size should be increased.

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